Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Monday: 19 March 2012

More Phenology  -  @ 09:39:07
Yesterday I mentioned that the extremely warm March (coupled with all three winter months being warmer than average) had galvanized my reexamination of timings of flowerings and emergences of spring plants. Some of these go back to 2004 or 2005. Because this year is so extreme, I've looked at previous years' observations and have determined a midpoint based on blog entries and photographs. I did it this way because as an only gradually trained observer I think a running average would take care of one year or another's sloppy notation.

I presented some recordings and estimates of several species:
The emergence and expansion (not flowering) of mayapples (Podophyllum peltatume, which are 19 days ahead of the midpoint of April 5. N=5 years (not including 2012);

Giant Chickweeds (Stellaria puberula) (flowering), which are also 19 days before an April 5 midpoint. N=5 years Those two tend to appear and develop together.

Dogwood (Cornus florida) data were less extensive (N=4), but yesterday's notes of flowering emergence would put us 16 days earlier than the April 2 midpoint.

A few other observations to add to this:

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, N=8: Midpoint of March 11, first observation this year March 2. 9 days ahead of midpoint.

This species probably represents my most extensive data, noted since 2003, although I can't find any 2009 data. Their flowering range is typically very tight, a range of 14 days.

It took us quite a few years to begin to sort out our several flowering hawthorn trees, but I've located four Rome Hawthorns (Crataegus aemula scattered about the property. They're the earliest flowering hawthorns of all of the ones we have, with a midpoint of March 16 (N=3, with no data for 2009). The flowering period only lasts about 10 days, so they're fairly tight as far as the mistakes I could make.

This year, I noticed first flowering March 2, and so they're 14 days ahead of the midpoint.

We have our Troutlilies (Erythronium umbilicatum), and I'll include them even if they are transplants from 2009. I have a feeling they're still adapting to the new location and disturbance from transplanting over the last four years. They're root growth oriented, and it may take some time before they equilibrate with the new environment.

Nonetheless, the first flowering this year took place February 22. The midpoint is March 16, so they're 23 days ahead of time. I didn't follow the population they were taken from for transplanting (about a mile away) so I can't say how these compare with those. One possible point of interest is that they've been flowering earlier each year since 2009, when they were transplanted.

Finally, we have American Redbud, Cercis canadensis. This small tree has a broad range of flowering, at least two weeks. I have a midpoint of flowering since 2004 of March 21.

This photograph was taken March 2, so 19 days ahead. A small caveat: it was my first observation of early flowering, but in the past I've been fairly careful to note such first observations, and not to simply note peak flowering. In the latter case, peak flowering has been noted much later than the last week that marks peak flowering this year.

Overall, and neglecting the troutlilies for no reason other than that they are transplants, I have seven species emerging from February 22 to March 17. They average 15 days earlier, this year, than the midpoints I've estimated. There are no species that has showed such early emergence in the last 5-10 years, and none that has so far showed anywhere close to the midpoint.

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