I mentioned a while back that Zoe Panchen, a Longwood Graduate Fellow at University of Delaware, is doing her masters' thesis on plant phenology—a plant's blooming (and fruiting) time relative to climate. She is calling upon 150 years of herbarium records at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and other sources, and collecting data in the field for current boom times for thirty species of plants that have specific and relatively short flowering periods.
Seeing the plants flowering in the field will help identify what is peak flowering in the herbarium specimens and the long period of time covered in the study, made possible by using herbarium specimens, will identify trends. Ms. Panchen is also using the Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora in Delaware (about an hour south of here) as a site for data on this year's bloom dates.
The research seeks to assess the impact of climate change on flowering time of native plants growing within the greater Philadelphia region from before industrialization to the present. Second, it will compare, substantiate and expand the evidence of similar studies that focused on non-native species by using Philadelphia area native species over a wider time period and from a wider geographical area. Third, it will assess other factors that may affect the responsiveness of the these species to climate change.
If you have any questions about this research or what's in bloom right now please feel free to contact us at Crow's Nest Preserve.