Pine needles evolved to help trees cope with rainfall

Sept. 29 (UPI) — The needles of longleaf pine trees evolved to effectively shed water, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, ensuring rain moistens the soil instead of clogging leaf pores.

“Our initial inspiration for this project was [to study] raindrop impact on pine trees,” Andrew Dickerson, professor of engineering at University of Central Florida, told UPI in an email.

Dickerson and his research partners wanted to find whether or not rainfall has influenced the material properties of pine needles.

“We began impact drops onto cantilevered needles, but quickly realized the physics was very complicated and that the simpler problem of drop impact onto fixed, non-circular fibers had not yet been tackled,” Dickerson said.

To tackle it, researchers set up high-speed cameras to capture high-resolution, slow-motion video of drops hitting the wedge-shaped needles of longleaf pines.

According to Dickerson, dozens of studies have looked

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