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Old September 18th, 2008, 08:50 AM
RBright RBright is offline
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Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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Spiny seed pod mystery

Yesterday, my son and I found a spiny, green, spherical seed pod (approx. 1" in diameter) on the side of the road. Here's photos of the pod (note the small stem) and the pod when opened (interior was silky white in nature, with two pignola-like seeds). The spines are quite prickly--not soft at all, which is what I had been expecting considering how many there were and how small they were. The neighbor kid also pointed out a larger, already open seed pod (approx. 2-3"?) that he had found the previous evening. These are the only examples we've found, and I've never seen them in the neighborhood before.

We (I) checked online for candidates--I was thinking it might be sweet gum or sycamore, but the spines on our pod aren't spaced like the examples I found online. We are located in SE Penna. (USA); our house is surrounded by mature tulip trees, ashes, sweet birches, maples, dogwoods, and oaks.

The kids and I are excitedly awaiting any suggestions! Thanks in advance!
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Old September 18th, 2008, 08:53 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Spiny seed pod mystery

Castanea sp. It's probably unfamiliar because of the formerly dominant American chestnut having been decimated long ago by chestnut blight.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 09:05 AM
RBright RBright is offline
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Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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Re: Spiny seed pod mystery

I think that's probably it. One of the houses in our neighborhood was finally forced to take their chesnut down--I wonder if this is one of its sproutlings (that is producing the nuts).

Thanks--I'll let the boys know when they come home from school.
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