Discover Crowsnest Pass Day 6: Learn about tree cones

Join Uplift Adventures on a scavenger hunt in the Crowsnest Pass. Bring your kids or do it on your own, there is no age limit!

The scavenger hunt we are doing today involves you looking for a cone! See if you can identify the cone based on what it looks like. We will give you three options of cones.

In Canada, we can categorize trees into two categories. 

  1. Deciduous trees: Trees that lose their leaves. A leaf can also be a needle. 
  2. Evergreen trees: These trees stay green year-round, evergreen. They don’t lose their leaves or needles. In Crowsnest Pass, we have three main types of evergreen trees.

Our evergreen trees have cones. This makes them evergreen and coniferous trees, meaning they hold cones.

The first tree we will look at is a douglas fir. A douglas fir cone can be identified by their ‘tails’, also called a bract. They have scales, and inside the cone is where you will find the seed of the cone. 

Next we look at the spruce tree. It looks similar to a douglas fir but when you touch its needles they are sharp! When you take a needle off of the branch and roll it between your fingers, it is square and can be rolled between the fingers. The cone of the white spruce tree has no long tails (bracts).

The last tree we talk about is a lodgepole pine. Its cone is very hard when you squeeze it. It is a serotinous cone and requires heat to open up to release its seeds. After a forest fire a lodgepole pine grows well, since its cones are able to open up. Pine trees have bundles of needles on their branches, and lodgepole pines are in bundles of two needles. 

Thank you for joining us to learn about trees! We invite you to come join us on a hike, backpack, outdoor course, climb or more around Crowsnest Pass, Waterton Lakes National Park, or Castle Parks. We are your local and certified professional guides in the South Canadian Rockies.

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