Winter is coming.

Wondering how cold or snowy it will be?

Many West Virginians turn to persimmon seeds to answer that question, and it’s not always good news.

Or maybe it is, depending on the answer you’d like to see.

A kind of natural crystal ball, folks believe the seeds’ shape predict whether it will be mild, windy or cold and snowy.

Want to know more?

Find a tree, and get started.

Wild Persimmons

Just slice the burnished orange, fleshy fruit open and take a look inside the seeds.

Tammy Goodrich Taylor, via Facebook

Tammy Goodrich Taylor, via Facebook

The key is to see if there are more spoons, knives or forks.

Tammy Goodrich Taylor, via Facebook

Beth Webb, via Facebook

Spoons symbolize shovels, and more of them means lots of snow, folklore says.



A knife means icy, cutting winds while a fork indicates a mild winter

Mason County resident Chris Cook is predicting a bad winter after seeing a definite pattern in  the ones he cut last month.

“They say to cut four, and take the most and that’s what it’ll be. This year I cut eight, and all were spoons.”

pers seed 3

Chris Cook, via Facebook

Not that he minds.

Winter is an important part of the weather cycle, and that means snow too.

But just like weather forecasts vary across regions, it’s the same with this kind of prediction.

“It only predicts your area that’s why people need to cut their own. If I cut mine and get spoons, but 10 counties over they cut and they get a fork,” he said.

Roane County residents helped prove that point.

One found knives, another saw a knife and spoon in the seeds.

Beth Webb proudly displayed her photos on a friend’s Facebook page, and is expecting a bad winter in Spencer.

She’s a believer.

No doubt about it.

“The tree we have gotten the seeds from for the past five years has showed spoons,” she said.

A Kanawha County woman said she’d found a perfectly shaped spoon, and is now bracing for a snowy season ahead.

2009 - A Spoon In My Persimmon (seed). Very cool.

In the Eastern Panhandle community of PawPaw, local trees are also being tapped as a way of seeing into the meteorological future.

One Morgan County man, who even has a favorite wild persimmon tree, said he believes in taking his cues from Mother Nature.

It’s even a family tradition.

“In my younger years my grandmother from California would send the larger Asian form of the persimmon for the winter holiday seasons. Once opened it was a ritual to cut the seeds open and see what was inside,” he said.

Unfortunately the accuracy of California-raised Asian persimmons didn’t translate well across the country.

“Once I moved to the mountains here in West Virginia some 20 plus years ago, we continued the tradition. Most of the time Mother Nature was accurate.”

This year’s seeds yielded three knives and two spoons, he said, adding, “I believe in Mother Nature’s power.”