Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Plant Succession Elicits Question

The different varieties of wild plants appear in a set order, a kind of succession that never varies. In other words, ostrich fern fiddleheads always appear before common milkweed. And common milkweed always shows prior to wild, daylilies.

All well and good. But something bothers me about this season. Everything is early, in some cases, two or three weeks early. So what happens if everything runs its course and the last plants of fall come and go, but it is still summer?

Picture New England asters in July and goldenrod in June. Since the next flowering plants to appear are those of spring, might we have a second bloom on some of our familiar, springtime plants? Might we go fiddheading in October?

This, of course, doesn’t take into account whatever plants may need as a period of cold stratification. But perhaps, some plants don’t require set, sub-freezing period.

It’s all interesting stuff, for sure. All I can say is that it will pay to keep a weather eye on wild plants as the season progresses.

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