- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - 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.

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