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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.
The spring of 2017 was another abnormally warm year across much of the country (NOAA, climate.gov). The Southeastern part of the US, in particular, was much warmer than average conditions.
How did dogwoods respond, and was it different from last year? 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."
The majority of reports of breaking leaf buds tended to be earlier in 2017 than in 2016 for native flowering dogwood.
If we look more closely at the proportion of dogwoods for which a "yes" was recorded for breaking leaf buds, we can see that the peak in the proportion of plants was several weeks earlier in 2017 than in 2016.
We see a similar pattern for open flowers, with reports tending to be slightly earlier in 2017 than in 2016.
Looking at the proportion of individual dogwoods with a "yes" report for open flowers, the peak in the proportion occurred at about the same time in 2017 as in 2016. There was more variation in 2017 than in 2016 in the early part of the year, with reports of open flower flowers in January and February.