Plant Groups

Budburst divides its reportable plants into five groups: deciduous trees and shrubs, conifers, evergreen trees and shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers and herbs. Note that the Budburst plant groups are determined by the similarity of plant phenology, not necessarily by botanical family or groupings. For each Budburst plant group you will find a definition, along with phenophase descriptions.

Use the Plant List to search for a specific plant. Budburst maintains a list of 300 plants. If you are unable to find the plant using either its common or scientific name, you can still submit data on your plant to the Budburst database. Your plant may exist in the database because someone else reported on it previously.

Printable Report Forms: Printable phenology report forms are provided for your convenience where online reporting may not be feasible.

We are always interested in your observations of other species as well. All observations help us better understand how plants are responding to changes in their environments.

Wildflowers and Herbs

A wildflower is a flower that grows 'on its own' without needing cultivation. Some wildflowers are native species, that is, they are indigenous to an area or region. Other wildflowers have been introduced to an area but are able to thrive on their own. Some species of wildflowers are very common while others are quite rare.

For the purposes of Budburst observations, this category includes forbs, plants that die back to the ground over the winter months and re-emerge in the spring. Examples include the following: Black-eyed Susan, Large flowered trillium, Wild bergamot, and Butterfly milkweed.

Observing Phenophases in Wildflowers and Herbs

Life events for this group of plants revolve around leafing, flowering and fruiting. All plants are unique and the first ripe fruit phenophase for the large flowered trillium differs from the first ripe fruit for the common milkweed.

First Flower

Date the first flowers are fully open. When open, you will see the stamens among the unfolded petals.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Alfalfa
Medicago sativa
Colorado blue columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.
Colorado blue columbine
Aquilegia caerulea
Yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) Photo courtesy of JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University.
Yellow jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens
Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) Photo courtesy of Peggy Hanson, Denver Botanic Gardens Volunteer.
Scarlet gilia
Ipomopsis aggregata
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Full Flower

Date when half or more of the flowers are completely open.

Annual Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) Photo courtesy of Jeff McMillian, USDA NRCS PLANTS database and Almost Eden.
Annual Sunflower
Helianthus annuus
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Photo courtesy of Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS.
Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) Photo courtesy of Patuxent Research Refuge.
Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus
Soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca) Photo courtesy of Barry Jones, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca

First Ripe Fruit

Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. Ripening is usually indicated by a change in color to the mature color, or by drying and splitting open (for dry fruits such as capsules).

Soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca
Wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University. .
Wild strawberry
Fragaria virginiana
Purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) Photo courtesy of Janet Allen, Budburst citizen scientist; ourhabitatgarden.org.
Purple coneflower
Echinacea angustifolia
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Photo courtesy of K. Robertson, Eastern Illinois University.
Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) Photo courtesy of Silver Lake Nature Center.
Canada thistle
Cirsium arvense

Full Fruiting

Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.

Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) Photo courtesy of Budburst Flickr page.
Jack in the pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum
Dotted horsemint (Monarda punctata) Photo courtesy of Janet Allen, Budburst citizen scientist; ourhabitatgarden.org.
Dotted horsemint
Monarda punctata
Red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Photo courtesy of Christina Westley, Budburst citizen scientist.
Red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis
Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Common dandelion
Taraxacum officinale
Common greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University.
Common greenbrier
Smilax rotundifolia

All Leaves Withered

Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season, have lost green color or are dried and dead.

Colorado blue columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) Photo courtesy of Peggy Hanson, Denver Botanic Gardens Volunteer.
Colorado blue columbine
Aquilegia caerulea
Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) Photo courtesy of Janet Allen, Budburst citizen scientist; ourhabitatgarden.org.
Indian pink
Spigelia marilandica
Large flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, IdentifyThatPlant.com.
Large flowered trillium
Trillium grandiflorum
Scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) Photo courtesy of Peggy Hanson, Denver Botanic Gardens Volunteer.
Scarlet globemallow
Sphaeralcea coccinea
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) Photo courtesy of Dorothy Lidell.
Virginia bluebells
Mertensia virginica

One-Time Phenology Status

Everyone loves to view the spring ephemerals following a snowy winter! If you visit a nature center and see Large flower trillium, you can report its status today through your Budburst account. You may never have seen this particular trillium before and may never see it again. But: you can report its status today.

estimating on your part: be a careful observer. Report your observations using your Budburst account.

Flowers

  • No flowers
  • Early: Only a few flowers have emerged (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many flowers have emerged
  • Late: Most flowers have wilted or fallen off (over 95%)

Fruit

  • No ripe fruits
  • Early: Only a few ripe fruits are visible (less than 5% are ripe)
  • Middle: Many fruits are ripe
  • No ripe fruits
  • Late: Most fruits or seeds have been dispersed from the plant (over 95%)

Deciduous Trees and Shrubs

Deciduous trees and shrubs are woody plants that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season, usually in the winter. However, leaf drop can also occur during a dry season in warm climates. Examples include red maple, chokecherry, and common lilac.

At Budburst, we group deciduous trees and deciduous shrubs together. However, there are significant differences. Deciduous trees are generally defined as woody, self-supporting perennial plants that have a single main stem (trunk) and grow to more than 20 feet tall. Deciduous shrubs—while also woody, perennial plants—are smaller than trees (less than 20 feet) and usually have several stems.

Although these trees and shrubs differ in appearance, they share similar life events (phenology). This is why Budburst places them in the same group.

Observing Phenophases in Deciduous Trees and Shrubs

In the life of every plant a series of key events occur. The study of these events is called Phenology; each event is called a phenophase. Plants are unique, and the same phase on one plant might look a little different than the same phase on another plant. This is true even between one deciduous tree and another, between a red maple and a silver maple.

However, closely observing the Red maple in your backyard, for example, gives you the opportunity to identify the date it reaches each of these events. Please report your phenology observations using your Budburst account.

Bud Burst

Date when the protective scale coating is shed from the bud, exposing tender new growth tissues of one or more flower buds or leaves.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) Photo courtesy of New England Leaf Out Project.
American beech
Fagus grandifolia
Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris
Forsythia (Forsythia xintermedia) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Forsythia
Forsythia xintermedia
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis
Red maple (Acer rubrum) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Red maple
Acer rubrum
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Crape myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica

First Leaf

Date the first leaves are completely unfolded from the bud on at least three branches. Leaves need to be opened completely (flat) and the leaf stem or base must be visible (you might need to bend the leaf backwards to see those).

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana
Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris
Forsythia (Forsythia xintermedia) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Forsythia
Forsythia xintermedia
Red maple (Acer rubrum) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Red maple
Acer rubrum
Red osier-dogwood (Cornus sericea) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Red osier-dogwood
Cornus sericea
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

All Leaves Unfolded

Date when at least 90 percent of the growing leaf buds have reached the first leaf stage.

American witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Photo courtesy of Will Cook, carolinanature.com.
American witchhazel
Hamamelis virginiana
Black cherry (Prunus serotina) Photo courtesy of Lori Weingartner, US Fish and Wildlife Service, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
Black cherry
Prunus serotina
Forsythia (Forsythia xintermedia) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
Forsythia
Forsythia xintermedia
Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) Photo courtesy of Finley National Wildlife Refuge.
Oregon ash
Fraxinus latifolia
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) Photo courtesy of Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org.
Pawpaw
Asimina triloba
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Sugar maple
Acer saccharum

First Flower

Date the first flowers are fully open (stamens are visible) on at least three branches. When open, flowers on wind-pollinated plants will release yellow pollen dust when touched.

American witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
American witchhazel
Hamamelis virginiana
Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris
Eastern serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Photo courtesy of Janet Allen, ourhabitatgarden.org.
Eastern serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis
Red alder (Alnus rubra) Photo courtesy of Walter Siegmund, Wikipedia Commons.
Red alder
Alnus rubra
Red osier-dogwood (Cornus sericea) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Red osier-dogwood
Cornus sericea
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Full Flower

Date when half or more of the flowers are fully open or releasing pollen on three or more branches.

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) Photo courtesy of Ann Schonlau, National Park Service.
Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana
Red maple (Acer rubrum) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Red maple
Acer rubrum
Forsythia (Forsythia xintermedia) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
Forsythia
Forsythia xintermedia
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.
Crape myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica
Southern Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) Photo courtesy of Tom Kirby, Patuxent Research Refuge.
Southern Arrowwood
Viburnum dentatum

First Ripe Fruit

Date when the first fruits become fully ripe or seeds drop naturally from the plant on three or more branches. Ripening is often indicated by a change to the mature color or by drying and splitting open.

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University.
Tulip poplar
Liriodendron tulipifera
American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Photo courtesy of Will Cook, carolinanature.com.
American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana
American linden (Tilia americana) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
American linden
Tilia americana
Beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) Photo courtesy of Jorg and Mimi Fleige, Westernwildflower.com.
Beaked hazelnut
Corylus cornuta
Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

Full Fruiting

Date when half or more branches have fully ripe fruit or the seeds are dropping naturally from the plant. If fruits are in clusters or stalks, then record when at least one fruit is ripe on at least half of the branches.

Black cherry (Prunus serotina) Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Black cherry
Prunus serotina
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Black locust
Robinia pseudoacacia
Southern arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) Photo courtesy of Patuxent Research Refuge.
Southern arrowwood
Viburnum dentatum
Tag alder (Alnus serrulata) Photo courtesy of Will Cook, carolinanature.com.
Tag alder
Alnus serrulata
Western serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) Photo courtesy of Joseph and Kathy Boland.
Western serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia
Red maple (Acer rubrum) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, IdentifyThatPlant.com.
Red maple
Acer rubrum

50 Percent Color

Date when half or more of the branches have leaves that have started to change color.

Beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Landscape Plants.
Beaked hazelnut
Corylus cornuta
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua
Red maple (Acer rubrum) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Red maple
Acer rubrum
Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Northern red oak
Quercus rubra
Red osier-dogwood (Cornus sericea) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Red osier-dogwood
Cornus sericea
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

50 Percent Leaf Fall

Date when at least half of the leaves have fallen off the tree or shrub.

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Tulip poplar
Liriodendron tulipifera
Plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Plains cottonwood
Populus deltoides
Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Paper birch
Betula papyrifera
Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus
Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Red-osier dogwood
Cornus sericea
Prunus-cerasus () Photo courtesy of Jean Bryan.
Prunus-cerasus
 

One-Time Phenology Status

What if you come upon an interesting tree or shrub while away from home - on a vacation or a business trip? You may never have seen this particular tree before; you may never see it again. But, you want to report its status today. You can do it!

This type of one-time, status-based, report - like the recurring report - provides important information about how plants respond to climate conditions and changes.

A one-time report for a deciduous tree or shrub includes the status of the leaves, flowers, and fruits on that particular day. The status might be “None,” and that is a valid observation. There will be some estimating on your part: be a careful observer, but DO make the report. Remember: a one-time, status-based report, contributes to our understanding of how plants respond to climate change.

Leaves unfolding

  • No leaves
  • Early: Only a few leaves have unfolded from the buds (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many leaves have unfolded from the buds
  • Late: Most leaves are fully unfolded (over 95%)

Leaves changing color

  • No leaves have changed color
  • Early: Only a few leaves have changed color (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many leaves have changed color
  • Late: Most leaves have changed color (over 95%)

Leaves dropping

  • No leaves have dropped
  • Early: Only a few leaves have dropped (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many leaves have dropped
  • Late: Most leaves have dropped (over 95%)

Flowers

  • No flowers or pollen
  • Early: Only a few flowers have emerged (less than 5%) or pollen is just starting to disperse
  • Middle: Many flowers have emerged or a lot of pollen is falling
  • Late: Most flowers have wilted or fallen off (over 95%) or most pollen has fallen

Fruit or Seeds

  • No ripe fruits
  • Early: Only a few ripe fruits are visible (less than 5% are ripe)
  • Middle: Many fruits are ripe
  • Late: Most fruits or seeds have been dispersed from plant (over 95%)

Conifers

Conifers are woody trees and shrubs that produce cones rather than flowers. Examples of conifers include pines, spruces, and firs.

Most of these trees and shrubs have evergreen needles, although some have deciduous needles (for example larches, bald cypress, dawn redwoods). Conifers have male cones that produce pollen that is wind dispersed, and woody cones where seeds are borne. Because of these significant differences in flowering and fruiting phenophases, Budburst has created a conifer plant group separate from the other evergreens.

Observing Phenophase Changes in Conifers

Plants are unique, and the same phase on one plant might look a little different than the same phase on another plant. This is true even among members of the same Budburst plant group. First ripe fruit (cone) for a Douglas fir looks different than it does for a western redcedar.

When following the same plant over time, you can identify a specific date for each phenophase. Report your observations using your Budburst account.

First Needles

Date when new needles emerge from tips of buds or are visible from the side of the buds on three or more branches.

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Douglas-fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus
Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) Photo by Paul Alaback
Pinyon pine
Pinus edulis
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Longleaf pine
Pinus palustris
Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern redcedar
Juniperus virginiana

First Pollen

Date when the plant starts releasing the powdery yellow pollen from cones on three or more branches (from male cones which are usually small and rounded). When open, the male cones will release yellow pollen dust when touched.

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) Photo courtesy of Patsey Chaney, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Longleaf pine
Pinus palustris
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa
Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) Photo courtesy of Susan McDougall, USDA-NRCS Plants Database
Pinyon pine
Pinus edulis
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Douglas-fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) Photo courtesy of Ellen Denny , US-NPN.
Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus

Full Pollen

Date when half or more branches have pollen. When open, the male cones will release yellow pollen dust when touched.

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Douglas-fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University.
Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda
Ponderosa pine (Pinus taeda) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Ponderosa pine
Pinus taeda
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Sitka spruce
Picea sitchensis

First Ripe Fruit (Cones)

Date when you notice the first seed cones becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant on three or more branches. Record when the seed cones turn brown and the scales expand (seeds should start dispersing shortly thereafter).

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Douglas fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University.
Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda
Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) Photo courtesy of Al Schneider, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database; Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.
Pinyon pine
Pinus edulis
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa

Full Fruiting (Cones)

Date when half or more branches have fully ripe cones or most of the seeds are dropping naturally from the tree.

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) Male cones, Photo courtesy of Dolly Cummings, Camp Bayou.
Sitka spruce
Picea sitchensis

 

One-Time Phenology Status

Do you ever visit locations where there are lots of conifers? If you find an interesting tree—one you have never seen before and may never see again—you can report its phenology status today.

A one-time, status-based report for a conifer includes the status of the needles, pollen and fruit (cones), on that particular day. The status might be “None,” and that is a valid observation.

With any one-time observation, there will be some estimating on your part. Be a careful observer, but DO make the report. Remember: one-time, status-based, reports contribute to our knowledge about plants and their response to climate change.

First Needles

  • No new needles are emerging
  • New needles are emerging from tips of buds or are visible from the side of the buds

Pollen

  • No pollen is falling
  • Early: Pollen is starting to fall (less than 5%)
  • Middle: A lot of pollen is falling

Fruit (Cones)

  • No ripe fruits (cones)
  • Early: Only a few ripe fruits (cones) are visible (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many fruits (cones) are ripe
  • Late: Most fruits (cones) or seeds have been dispersed from plant (over 95%)

Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Evergreen trees and shrubs include both herbaceous and woody species that maintain green leaves or needles year-round. Examples include magnolias, wax myrtle, holly, and live oaks. Each species of evergreen tree or shrub is unique; first flower on a Southern magnolia might look a little different than the first flower on an Oregon grape.

Conifers, while also evergreens, have significant differences in flowering and fruiting phenophases and are, therefore, their own plant group in Budburst.

Observing Phenophases in Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Life events for this group of plants revolve around flowering and fruiting. All plants are unique and the first ripe fruit phenophase for one evergreen may look different than that of another.  Report your Life-cycle (event-driven) observations using your Budburst account

First Flower

Date the first flowers are fully open (stamens are visible) on at least three branches. When open, flowers on wind-pollinated plants will release yellow pollen dust when touched.

Barbary ragwort (Othonna cheirifolia) Photo courtesy of JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University.
Barbary ragwort
Othonna cheirifolia
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus ledifolius
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, Identifythatplant.com.
Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia
Naio (Myoporum sandwicense) Photo courtesy of M. LeGrande, University of Hawaii-Manoa.
Naio
Myoporum sandwicense
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Photo courtesy of Will Cook, carolinanature.com.
Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora
Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) Photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Black mangrove
Avicennia germinans

Full Flower

Date when half or more of the flowers are fully open or releasing pollen on three or more branches.

'A'ali'i (Dodonaea viscosa) Photo courtesy of G.D. Carr.
'A'ali'i
Dodonaea viscosa
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Big sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata
Black sage (Salvia mellifera) Photo courtesy of Brian Haggerty, UC-Santa Barbara.
Black sage
Salvia mellifera
Blackbead (Pithecellobium guadalupense) Photo courtesy of Tom Wilmers, Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.
Blackbead
Pithecellobium guadalupense
Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Coyote brush
Baccharis pilularis
Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Photo courtesy of John Hixon, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

First Ripe Fruit

Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant on three or more branches. Ripening is usually indicated by a change in color to the mature color, or by drying and splitting open (for dry fruits such as capsules).

‘Akia (Wikstroemia uva-ursi) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
‘Akia
Wikstroemia uva-ursi
Blackbead (Pithecellobium guadalupense) Photo courtesy of Louise Venne.
Blackbead
Pithecellobium guadalupense
Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Coyote brush
Baccharis pilularis
Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Photo courtesy of National Park Service.
Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Photo courtesy of Steve Baskauf, Vanderbilt University.
Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora
Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) Photo courtesy of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Yaupon holly
Ilex vomitoria

Full Fruiting

Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.

'A'ali'i (Dodonaea viscosa) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
'A'ali'i
Dodonaea viscosa
'Akia (Wikstroemia uva-ursi) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
'Akia
Wikstroemia uva-ursi
Barberry ragwort (Othonna cheirifolia) Photo courtesy of JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University.
Barberry ragwort
Othonna cheirifolia
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) Photo courtesy of Angelyn Whitmeyer, IdentifythatPlant.com.
Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia
Oak mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum) Photo courtesy of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Oak mistletoe
Phoradendron leucarpum
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

One-Time Phenology Status

A one-time, status-based report can provide important data on how plants respond to climate conditions and changes. For evergreens, a One-time report includes the status of only the flowers and fruits on the day of your observation. The status for one or both phases might be “None,” and that is a perfectly valid observation. There will be some estimating on your part: be a careful observer.

Report your observations using your Budburst account.

Flowers

  • No flowers
  • Early: Only a few flowers have emerged (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many flowers have emerged
  • Late: Most flowers have wilted or fallen off (over 95%)

Fruit

  • No ripe fruits
  • Early: Only a few ripe fruits are visible (less than 5% are ripe)
  • Middle: Many fruits are ripe
  • Late: Most fruits or seeds have been dispersed from the plant (over 95%)

Grasses

Grasses are plants with long, linear leaves growing from the base of the plant and tiny, wind-pollinated flowers. The stems are hollow, and leaves wrap around the stem and are generally attached at nodes or distinct swellings on the stem. Grasses die back at the end of the growing season. Examples include Kentucky bluegrass, big bluestem, and wild rice.

At Budburst we also include in this grouping plants that have a grasslike appearance and exhibit similar phenophases; these include cattails, sedges, and rushes.

Observing Phenophase Changes in Grasses

Plants are unique, and the same phase on one plant might look a little different than the same phase on another plant. Full Flowering/Pollen looks different for Little bluestem than it does for Parry’s oatgrass.

Correct identification of flowering and fruiting events for this plant group usually requires a magnifying glass or macro lens. Use the Life-cycle Report option to track one plant through each phenophase event for it's growing season.

First Flower Stalk

Date when the first flower stalk is emerging from the stem of the grass and you can see the first flower cluster (spikelet) rising above the leaves of the stem.

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Photo courtesy of Peggy Hanson, Denver Botanic Gardens, Volunteer
Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis
Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) Photo courtesy of Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service
Western wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii
Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Photo courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii
Junegrass (Koelaria cristata) Photo courtesy of Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Junegrass
Koelaria cristata

First Flowering/Pollen

Date when the plant starts releasing the powdery yellow pollen when touched. When open, grass flowers will release yellow pollen dust when touched.

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Photo courtesy of Jean Bryan, Budburst.
Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii
Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Photo courtesy of Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service.
Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis
Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Western wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii
Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Photo courtesy of Barry Jones, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Saltgrass
Distichlis spicata
Softstem bulrush () Photo courtesy of Barry Jones, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Softstem bulrush
 

Full Flowering/Pollen

Date when half or more of the grass flowers are open and releasing pollen.

Softstem bulrush () Photo courtesy of Barry Jones, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Softstem bulrush
 
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii
Narrow-leaved cattail () Photo courtesy of Barry Jones, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Narrow-leaved cattail
 
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Photo courtesy of Lurie Garden.
Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

First Ripe Fruit

Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. For grasses, fruits are fully ripe when the seed is hard when squeezed and is difficult to divide with a fingernail.

Needle and Thread (Hesperostipa comata) Photo by Charles Sauer, Wikimedia Commons.
Needle and Thread
Hesperostipa comata
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Photo by Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Cheatgrass
Bromus tectorum
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Photo courtesy of R.E. Rosiere, Range Types of North America.
Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Full Fruit

Date when half or more of the fruits are fully ripe.

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Photo courtesy of Jean Bryan, Budburst.
Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum
Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) Photo courtesy of Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Western wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii
Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Photo courtesy of Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service.
Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis
Wild rice (Zizania palustris) Photo courtesy of Encyclopedia of Life.
Wild rice
Zizania palustris

All Leaves Withered

Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season have lost green color or are dried and dead. Note that cool-season grasses often die back during dry or hot periods, but are still green at the base of the leaves so have not yet reached the “all leaves withered” stage.

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.
Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Photo courtesy of Sarah Newman.
Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) Photo courtesy of Mike Haddock, Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses.
Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii
Junegrass (Koelaria cristata) Photo courtesy of Kathryn E. Bolin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Junegrass
Koelaria cristata

One-Time Reporting (Status-based reporting)

What if, while on vacation, you come upon a grass you don’t see at home. You may never see this grass again. But you want to report its status to Budburst today. You can do it!

A one-time, status-based report contributes important data on how plants respond to climate conditions and changes. Record the location and submit a one-time report.

A one-time report for members of the Budburst grass group includes the status of the flower stalks, pollen, and fruit (seeds), on that particular day. The status might be “None,” and that is a valid observation. Some estimating may be required on your part. Refer to the phenophase descriptions above and be a careful observer.

Report your one-time, phenophase status observations using your Budburst account.

Flower Stalk Emerging

  • No flower stalks have emerged
  • New flower stalks have emerged

Pollen

  • No pollen is falling
  • Early: Pollen is starting to fall (less than 5%)
  • Middle: A lot of pollen is falling

Fruit

  • No ripe fruits
  • Early: Only a few ripe fruits are visible (less than 5%)
  • Middle: Many fruits are ripe
  • Late: Most fruits or seeds have been dispersed from plant (over 95%)