Pine trees begin growing in the spring. Some species of pine grow new shoots in the form of a crucifix in the days before Easter—late March or early April. Whether or not a pine tree produces shoots in the form of a crucifix depends on the species, the local weather and its geographical location.
The “cross” or lateral growth of the new pine tree shoots is not the same for all species. Most pine species have a double lateral growth and so do not resemble a crucifix. Loblolly pines, widespread in the southern United States, and ponderosa pines, found in the west, do produce new shoots in the form of crosses.
Botanist David Hershey states that pine trees have a natural cycle of growth. The trees begin growing in the spring, prosper during the summer, slow their growth in the fall, and stay dormant in the winter. Scientists do not know the precise reason why new shoots on these particular species of pine look like crosses.
H/t FOTM’s swampygirl