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Phenology Web Links:
(1) Sequence of Bloom, Floral Calendars, What's in Bloom;
(2) Birds, Bees, Insects and Weeds

Steve Diver
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
© NCAT 2002
IP157


Abstract

Flowers
USDA-NRCS

Phenology is the study of the annual cycles of plants and animals and how they respond to seasonal changes in their environment. Links to many online calendars and other references are provided, including topics such as bird and butterfly phenology and phenology for kids.

Table of Contents

What is Phenology

Phenology is the study of the annual cycles of plants and animals and how they respond to seasonal changes in their environment. For example, in botany phenology refers to the timing of flower emergence, sequence of bloom, fruiting, and leaf drop in autumn.

Uses of Phenology

  • Correlation with insect emergence and pest control
  • Correlation with crop planting dates
  • Farmscaping with insect refugia (cover crops, hedgerows, strip crops) to attract beneficial insects and enhance natural biological control
  • Designing orchards for pollination and ripening sequence
  • Designing bee forage plantings
  • Designing perennial flower beds and wildflower plantings
  • Prediction of global warming trends

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Floral Calendars for Wildflowers, Native Plants, Herbaceous Perennials

From a horticultural perspective, the sequence of bloom is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of phenology. It provides a guide to the cycles of nature, a calendar of color for garden planning, and a phenological indicator of insect pests as they emerge to feed on crops.

Oklahoma Wildflowers, Photo Gallery Organized by Date of Bloom
By Charles S. Lewallen

Color pictures of 480 wildflowers and native plants of Oklahoma, with flowering dates organized by month of the year (March—December), including the actual day of the year each picture was taken.

Time of Flowering—Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses
By Mike Haddock, Agriculture Librarian, Kansas State University

Bloom Times for Wildflowers of the Southern Appalachians

Bloom times, organized by month, for about 140 wildflowers of the southern Appalachian bioregion. Some plants are linked to individual pages containing color photos and botanical descriptions.

Phenology of New York State Rare Plants
www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/heritage/rpsl06.pdf [PDF/1M]
The New York Natural Heritage Program

A table of 700 native (rare) plants of New York state. The phenology list shows the months of the year when the flowers (F), fruits (R) or vegetative parts (V) of each rare species can be seen. Part of a 62-page PDF document, New York State Rare Plant Status List.

Calendar of Color (California)
Tree of Life Nursery

Choose California native plants from each month to design year-round color in your landscaping projects.

Georgia's Native Perennials—Seasonal Bloom Chart
By Theresa Schrum, Georgia Native Plant Society

A chart of blooming times for native plants in Georgia, with categories for spring, summer, fall, ferns, grasses.

Wildflower Bloom Calendar
Brendle Branch Cabins, Blue Ridge Mountains (Appalachia)

Connecticut Natives for the Garden: Chart of Native Perennials
Connecticut Botanical Society

Native Wildflowers of the North Dakota Grasslands
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

A collection of short articles and color photographs of about 250 prairie wildflowers, written by Northern Prairie biologist Harold A. Kantrud over a 15-year period. The articles appeared weekly in local newspapers and were published during the week each species was expected to bloom.

Each article is three to four paragraphs in length and usually consists of the life history of the species, its identifying traits, where in North Dakota one can expect to find it, and its nomenclatural history.

Midwestern Wetland Flora—Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Each of the field guides in this series feature about 300 species of wetland plants. The Species List and Identification Key contains color photos, distribution maps, and botanical features including typical flowering periods.

Western Wetland Flora—Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Northeast Wetland Flora—Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Southern Wetland Flora—Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Wildflowers of Nebraska

Online photo album for about 80 wildflowers of Nebraska with typical blooming period.

Wildflowers in Bloom
Texas Agricultural Extension Service & Wildseed Flower Farms

Online photo album for about 80 wildflowers of the Plains and Southwest, with color photos, descriptions, range maps, and plant data including blooming periods.

Flora of North America

For an authoritative online botanical reference on flowering periods for native plants, look to the Flora of North America database hosted by Missouri Botanical Garden.

PLANTS National Database
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

The PLANTS database from USDA-NRCS is a second comprehensive online source to native and introduced plants of the United States. If you wade deep into the database, you can even access plants and characteristics like typical flowering periods at the county level. The links section has a nice collection of Web links on wildflowers and native plant societies.

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What's in Bloom

Some botanical gardens, national parks, and nature centers keep records on what's in bloom, and they're a great place to check for local and regional phenology.

What's in Bloom
Longwood Gardens (Pennsylvania)

The phenology records at Longwood Gardens are nicely organized, with a table displaying plants in bloom on a week-by-week basis for each month of the year; accompanied by selected photos.

Plants in Bloom
Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, Missouri)

The phenology records at Missouri Botanic Garden are one of the most extensive and useful botanical garden collections on what's in bloom on a week-by-week basis, with records available from 1995 to the present.

Phenology Records
Cofrin Arboretum Center for Biodiversity (Wisconsin)

The phenology records at Cofrin Arboretum are nicely organized in a table that is easy to follow on a daily basis, with to month-to-month records. The phenology reports include appearance of birds and plants throughout NortheasternWisconsin.

What's in Bloom
Chicago Botanic Garden (Chicago, Illinois)

Plants in Bloom
Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York City, New York)

CHERRYWATCH: Guide to the Cherry Tree Collection

Order of Bloom
Arnold Arboretum (Boston, Massachusetts)

What's Blooming
The United States National Arboretum (Washington, DC)

Wildflowers are Blooming
Blue Ridge Parkway Bloom Calendar

Seasonal Features at Kew Botanical Gardens

California Wildflower Hotsheet

California wildflower status report, compiled and maintained by writer/photographer Carol Leigh—author of 88 California Wildflower Locations (maps and blooming times). The Web site features status reports sent through email by wildflower observers, hikers, and travelers; a novel online resource for wildflower enthusiasts in the California region.

Relative Flowering Dates in the Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg

Month-by-month checklist of shrubs, berries, trees, and flowers blooming in the Colonial Williamsburg gardens.

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Floral Calendars and Bee Forage

"A floral calendar for beekeeping is a time-table that indicates to the beekeeper the approximate date and duration of the blossoming periods of the important honey and pollen plants...." Beekeeping in Asia, an FAO publication.

Plants for Year-Round Bee Forage
University of Georgia

Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants By S.E. McGregor, USDA

The classic USDA Agriculture Handbook, maintained and updated online by Bee Culture magazine.

Nectar and Pollen Plants of Oklahoma [PDF/472K]
Oklahoma State University

Bee Forage and Floral Calendars
Beekeeping in Asia, FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin 68/4

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Bird Phenology

The seasonal appearance of birds is another common indicator of phenology. Bird watching is a fun pastime for many people, and bird counts and bird watches are becoming even more popular.

Phenological Checklist of the Birds of Konza Prairie (Kansas)

Phenological checklist for 208 species of birds in Konza Prairie (Kansas). Sightings were recorded between March through February of the following year. Modified and updated from data previously published from Zimmerman, J.L. 1985. Birds of Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas. The Prairie Nauralist 17:185-192.

Phylogenetic Table with Occurence Record for Birds
Cedar Creek Natural History Area (Minnesota)

Bird Monitoring in North America
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Seasonal Bird Checklists

Project FeederWatch
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Bird Email—Regional Email Lists for Bird Sightings
Birdingonthe.Net

Bird Checklists of the United States
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

A remarkable collection of checklists for birds found at national wildlife refuge locations in each state. The checklists display names of bird and typical seasonal appearance.

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Butterfly Phenology

Butterfly sightings and floral activity go hand-in-hand. There is growing interest in butterfly gardens and butterfly checklists.

North American Butterfly Sightings
North American Butterfly Association

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme

Butterflies of North America
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

A remarkable checklist of butterlies located in each state on a county-by-county basis. The record for each butterfly includes a color photo and ecological information including typical flight (seasonal appearance), habitat, and food source.

Relationship of Butterfly Visitation with Nectar Qualities and Flower Color in Butterfly Bush, Buddleia Davidii
Department of Entomology, Clemson Univeristy

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Phenology and Pest Management

Monitoring the emergence of insects in relation to growing degree days (temperature) and their subsequent feeding on crop plants is a modern IPM tool. The correlation between flowering of certain ornamental plants and feeding and egg laying activity of crop pests is known to be more accurate than calender date spray schedules. The use of phenology as an ecological monitoring aid in pest management was the original inspiration for this resource list.

Field Crop Integrated Pest Management Training and Reference Manual
Pennsylvania State University

The manual is available for $75 plus $5 shipping by contacting Dennis Calvin, Associate Professor of Entomology, at (814) 865-4640 or email dcalvin@psu.edu.

This is a comprehensive IPM manual that addresses crop and insect phenology, and there are several other interesting tables and resource items.

Pest Management Calendars
North Carolina State University

Vegetable Insects Calendar for Kentucky
University of Kentucky

Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
University of Illinois

Emergence Sequence Patterns of Common Weeds
Integrated Pest & Crop Management Newsletter / University of Missouri-Columbia Vol. 10, No. 2 March 31, 2000

Applied Phenology and Gardening
Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Phenological Events
Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Plant Phenological Indicators and Degree Day Accumulations
Michigan State University, Nursery and Landscape

Phenology Table
www.cips.msu.edu/landscape/gdd.htm
Michigan State University, Nursery and Landscape

Landscape Advisory Team Alert Newsletter
Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s Landscape Crop Advisory Team Alert newsletter is unique, because it contains a growing degree table and a phenology table in each issue.

Growing Degree Days and Plant Phenology
University of New Hampshire

Monitoring: Growing Degree Days & Plant Phenology
University of New Hampshire

Monitoring & Management Checklists
University of New Hampshire

The monitoring and management checklists from University of New Hampshire are one of the most practical and helpful phenological records I've seen as a way for farmers to match phenology and pest management. These are one-page PDF downloads that start with Checklist No. 1 for March to Early April at 1-49 GDD (growing degree days), proceeding through Checklist No. 18 for September - October at 2400-2999 GDD. It lists typical ornamental indicator plants in bloom, and lists the expected crop pest for several crops, accompanied by notes on what type of scouting and action is needed.

Plant and Insect Phenology in the Year of El Niño (1998): Comparison with 1997
Daniel A. Herms, Ohio State University

This report tracks the phenological sequence of 82 plant and 40 insect and mite taxa for Wooster, Ohio, in 1998, with data fields for plant or insect species, phenological event (e.g., first bloom), date, and degree-day accumulation. The phenological sequence for 1998 was found to be very similar to the 1997 sequence. The phenology of all insects was predicted more accurately by plant phenology than by calendar days.

The Flowering Sequence of Ornamental Plants as a Tool for Predicting the Phenology of Insect Pests—1997
Daniel A. Herms, Ohio State University

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General Resources on Phenology and Plant Watch Networks

Phenology is a multi-dimensional study of plant and animal life cycles with many practical and scientific uses, as well as a way for people to simply connect with nature and be aware of the biological world. In recent years, phenology-based plant watches have emerged as a tool to monitor global warming.

The Phenology Networks Home Page
Mark Schwartz, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The Lilac Phenology Network Home Page

"Phenology, which is derived from the Greek word phaino meaning to show or to appear, is the science of periodic biological events in the animal and plant world as influenced by the environment, especially weather and climate. Sprouting and flowering of plants in the spring, color changes of plants in the fall, bird migration, insect hatches, and animal hibernation are all examples of phenological events."

For almost 40 years cooperators in the United States and Canada have assisted phenological researchers by reporting event dates for lilac and honeysuckle. Maps and data and photos can be found on this Web site.

PlantWatch
University of Alberta, Devonian Botanic Garden

Plantwatch is a program which asks students and the general public to observe flowering times for "key indicator" plant species and to report these dates via the Internet or by mail. These indicator plants flower largely in response to heat accumulation (degree-days), so after warm winters and springs they flower earlier than average.

Global Phenological Monitoring Site

Graphs and charts illustrating phenological records in Europe: Bud swell & flowering dates of grapevine correlated to temperature; arrival dates of swallows in relation to temperature; leafing dates of oak; flowering dates of garlic mustard and emergence of orange tip butterfly; flowering of herbs; flowering of apples.

Nova Scotia Plantwatch

Historical notes and information on phenology in Canada, a combined effort of the Department of Biology at Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia and the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network (EMAN), Environment Canada. Fourteen species of spring flowering plants are featured in this plant watch.

UK Phenology Network

A British Isles phenology network, co-ordinated by the Royal Meteorological Society, existed from 1875-1947. The current UK phenology network is coordinated by Woodland Trust and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and is geared to participation from the pubic as "recorders" of phenological events. Records are kept for selected species of trees, flowers, birds, insects, butterflies, and amphibians as indicator species. An interesting feature at this Web site is the option to view maps of phenological events (e.g., oak leaf emergence, bird migration) recorded over long periods of time.

Pinkie's Parlor: Phenology

A gardener's Web site on all aspects of flowers: the language of flowers, flower meanings and legends, edible flowers, and the phenology of flowers. The phenology section is notable for gardener and weather sayings based on phenological observations; e.g., "when the daffodils bloom, it is time to plant peas."

USDA Forest Service Fall Colors Web Site

The GreenReport
The Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) Program

The GreenReport combines current satellite data with historic data to prepare a series of maps that show vegetation and crop condition of the landscape as the season progresses. An excellent way to follow the "green wave."

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Phenology for Kids and School Programs

Nature education has made a signifiant contribution to the modern curriculum. Phenology is a fun way to introduce kids to the seasons and cycles of life. Scientists are even using phenological observations from school kids to track climate change.

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration

An educational Web site on nature observations and phenology, with a focus on Fall and Spring events. Some of the checksheets and database records are especially helpful as a starting point for keeping phenological records; e.g., "spring appearance of robins; leaf-out dates in the spring; maple sugaring dates, etc."

School Area Nature Project (SNAP)
St. Olaf College (Minnesota)

EEK!—Environmental Education for Kids
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

EEK!: Phenology

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE)

GLOBE Resource Room: Budburst and Lilac Phenology

GLOBE: Scientist's Corner: Phenology

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Web Articles on Phenology and Sequence of Bloom

Popular articles are a good way to grasp a subject, since they are written with the lay reader in mind.

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: Tracking Nature's Cycles Can be a Satisfying and Reassuring Pursuit
By Gregory Scott
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, April 1995

Sequence of Bloom: Planting for Different Seasons of Bloom and Color
By Ruth S. Foster

Garden column at Bob Vila's Home Site

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Nature Notes and Phenological Observations

Nature notes, largely a collection of phenological observations, are featured here.

John Latimer's Phenology Report (Minnesota)

John Latimer goes on-the-air with phenological reports (bird migration, alfalfa bloom, agricultural activities), broadcast on KAXE - Northern Community Radio in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Audio archives can be heard on this Web page.

Daniel's Nature Notes—Phenology Calendar for 2004
Daniel Edelstein / Coastal Area of Northern California/SF Bay Region

Daniel's Nature Notes—Phenology Calendar For 2001
Daniel Edelstein / Washington, DC Area/Mid-Atlantic/Midwestern latitudes

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Phenological Sayings and Observations

Many of the common folk lore and weather sayings are based on observations of nature's cycles and rhythms, and gardeners still follow many of these phenology indicators and observations.

To Everything
There is a season,
And a time for every
purpose, under Heaven

Ash before oak,
We're in for a soak.
Oak before ash,
We're in for a splash.
- UK Phenology Network

Phenology Garden Tips
Gardeners activities are sometimes based on phenological indicators:

When the daffodils begin to bloom it is time to plant peas
When the blossoms of the apple tree begin to fall, plant your corn seeds
When dandelions are blooming plant beets and carrots
Plant potatoes when the shadbush flowers
When elm leaves are the size of a penny plant kidney beans

Many of the events of the annual cycle recur year after year in a regular order. A year-to-year record of this order is a record of the rates at which solar energy flows to and through living things. They are the arteries of the land. By tracing their responses to the sun, phenology may eventually shed some light on that ultimate enigma, the land's inner workings.
- Aldo Leopold, A Phenological Record for Sauk and Dane Counties, Wisconsin, 1935-1945 (1947)

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Climatic Information—Astrological Data, Sun, Moon, Climate

Climate and weather play a major role in the life cycles of plants and animals. When you put floral calendars, bird and insect phenology, and astrological data all together in one place, you have a virtual almanac.

U.S. Naval Observatory—Astronomical Applications

Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day
U.S. Naval Observatory

Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year
U.S. Naval Observatory

Normal Monthly Precipitation (Inches)
National Climatic Data Center

Freeze/Frost Maps
National Climatic Data Center

Interactive Weather Information Network—State Maps
National Weather Service


Phenology Web Links
By Steve Diver
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
Tiffany Nitschke, HTML Production
IP157
Slot 13

 

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This page was last updated on: December 10, 2014