Persimmons have forecasting abilities in Missouri folklore

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Move over Punxsutawney Phil. Missouri has its own way to predict the weather.

Folklore holds that the shape of the seedling inside a persimmon seed can predict upcoming winter conditions.

University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist Patrick Byers says there's no research that backs up the folklore. But that didn't stop him from collecting fruit from persimmon trees in Lawrence, Newton, Webster and McDonald counties.

His evaluation of 102 seeds suggests this coming winter in the Ozarks is going to be colder than average, with below average snowfall and a few warm spells.

Persimmons grow on trees and look like orange tomatoes. The Extension Service says Native Americans taught settlers that the fruit should be left on the trees well into October when it becomes ripe enough to eat.

FOX 4's Karli Ritter has her own thoughts about the topic. Read from her below.

The persimmon seeds are a hot topic of debate leading into the upcoming winter. I found out about these seeds a few years ago and they have been fairly accurate with what they predict versus the actual winter outcome. The belief is if you cut a seed in half you will see either a spoon, fork or knife and each holds its own prediction to the upcoming winter

Spoon = Snowy (think shovels)
Fork = Mild, not really snowy (pitchforks aren't snow movers)
Knife = Cold, icy (the cold weather will cut you like a knife)

For the past couple of years we've had spoons and we all know how those winters turned out! The year before that it was all forks and that was the winter we had less than 4" of snow. Go two years before that and we had record snow seasons, and we also had blizzard conditions -- with spoons and knives inside of the seeds.

I'm a firm believer that the seeds are on to something (much like the wooly worms), and I use them to formulate my upcoming winter forecast.

By the way, we usually do our team forecast later this month, stick around for that!