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Your observations of the native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) can enhance the phenology observations of cloned dogwoods that are being collected across the United States. Comparing the phenology of these species with that of cloned plants enhances our understanding of genetic and environmental influences on the plants. Observations of the common and cloned species at the same location are especially valuable for untangling these mysteries. See what volunteers' observations of flowering dogwoods are revealing.
Tracking a native dogwood is easy - you can observe a plant that is already thriving in your yard.
How to participate...
3. Sign up to receive our flowering dogwood campaign messaging (in the right sidebar of this page - you may need to scroll back up to see it). You will receive messages approximately every 4-6 weeks during the growing season, providing early results, encouragement, observation tips, interesting links, and campaign-specific opportunities. Don't miss out!
4. Observe your plant(s). Report what you see (yes/no/not sure) on your plant periodically following the instructions for flowering dogwoods. We encourage you to observe your plant(s) 2-4 times a week, especially in the spring, when things are changing rapidly. However, we welcome any observations you can contribute.
We are especially interested in the following phenophases, although you are welcome to track all of the phenophases for this species. We have also included some photos to help you identify some of the more tricky phenophases:
How do I tell a leaf bud from a flower bud? Leaf buds (left photo) and flower buds (right photo) can be tricky to identify. If you think you have misidentified a flower or leaf bud, you can correct your submitted observations. Learn more here. Also, remember that the "flowers" you are looking for are actually the small yellow/green flowers inside the large white bracts. In dogwoods, flower buds generally start to open before leaf buds.
5. Report your observations. Periodically log into your Nature's Notebook account and transfer your observations from your paper data sheet into the online reporting system. Alternatively, you can enter your observations directly using our Android or iPhone smartphone and tablet apps.
How did dogwoods respond in 2016, and was it different from 2015? Phenology calendars can provide a picture of when phenophases were reported over the year. Colored bars on the phenology calendars below indicate that an observer reported "yes" for breaking leaf buds and open flowers, while gray bars indicate an observer reported "no."
In 2015, the majority of breaking leaf buds for flowering dogwoods were reported in late March, while in 2016, the majority were reported over a week earlier. We see a similar trend for leaves. There were several reports of flowers or flower buds made in the winter of 2015. These are likely the dormant flower buds that dogwoods put on in the fall. Remember, you should not start reporting "yes" to flowers or flower buds until the dormant buds start to swell.