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Phenology of Plant Florescence

© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov, Russia, 2002

© Michael J. Brody, USA, 2003

Phenology of plant florescenceThis manual describes the study of spatial dynamics of species composition of flowering plants in different biotopes. The main phases of the work are: planning the survey, finding flowering plants, determination of the phenological phase of florescence, listing and analyzing biotopic differences in species composition and time of florescence.

This field study has instructional video featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the task including reporting the results.


It is well known that angiosperm plants growing in the temperate climatic zone do not blossom all year round but during a rather short period of time. The time and duration of plant florescence is individual and depend on many factors.

The main factor that determines the beginning of plant florescence is the temperature at the plant's location. These conditions differ considerably even within the boundaries of one climatic microregion. Temperature greatly varies in biotopes Ц depending on the presence, density and height of the forest canopy. Trees have an influence upon the thickness of snow cover in winter, the rate of snowmelt and the warming of soil. Mesorelief works similarly.

Besides external factors, biological properties and adaptations of plants also have influence upon the time and duration of plant florescence.

First, time and duration of florescence depend on the life form of a plant.

According to the classification of life forms proposed by Danish scientist-botanist K. Raunikier, all plants differ in the location of regeneration buds from which the plant's organs (shoots, leaves and flowers) develop. The location of regeneration buds characterizes a plant's adaptation to life during the unfavorable seasons of the year. An unfavorable season in the tropics is drought, whereas in our country it is winter.

All plants are divided into five life forms depending on the location of buds against the ground or snow cover.

1. Phanerophyte (from the Greek word УphanerosФ Ц open, evident). The buds on plants of this type winter Уopenly,Ф quite high above the ground. That is why special bud scales usually protect them. All our trees and shrubs belong to phanerophytes.

2. Geophytes (from Greek word УgeosФ Ц land). As it is seen from the name, regeneration buds of these plants are located underground. Their aboveground part completely dies off in winter. New shoots develop in the spring, from buds that are located on tubers, bulbs or rhizomes, which spend the winter under protection of the soil layer. Geophytes include many perennial herbaceous plants, such as the well-known gladiolus, tulip (bulbous geophytes) and potato (tuber geophyte).

3. Hemicryptophytes (from the Greek words УhemiФ Ц semi- and УcryptosФ Ц hidden). These are herbaceous plants that have regeneration buds located at the soil surface level, often under the protection of a debris layer consisting of fallen leaves and other vegetation debris. The mentioned protection is one more additional УcoverФ for the buds. Dandelion (its regeneration buds are located on a rosette near the ground) and yellow-cup (regeneration buds are located on creeping sprouts which are found on the ground) belong to hemicryptophytes.

4. Gamaephytes. Regeneration buds of such plants are located not higher than 20-30cm above the ground, and they spend the winter under the protection of snow cover (red whortleberries, bilberry).

5. Terophytes. These are plants that die off completely by winter and only their seed winters (they all are annual plants).

Different plants blossom in different time periods depending on their life forms. The deeper the buds are hidden, the later the plants blossom and the more nutrients are stored up by the plant in autumn and the longer the florescence period lasts.

The second factor that influences the time and duration of plant blossoming is the method of pollination. All plants are divided into two main groups according to this feature: wind-pollinated and insect-pollinated.

Wind-pollinated plants do not have to wait until warm weather comes and insects appear. It is the other way round: many wind-pollinated plants blossom very early, before leaves appear in the tree crown, as they make for worse wind conditions in ...


This was only the first page from the manual and its full version you can see in the

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set:

It is possible to purchase the complete set of 40 seasonal Ecological Field Study Materials (video in mpg + manuals in pdf formats) in an attractive 4 compact disk set. These compact disks are compatible with Mac and PC computers. The teacher background information and manuals can be printed out for easy reference. The videos are suitable for individual student or whole class instruction. To purchase the complete 4CD set write to in a free form.

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set

Some of these manuals you can also purchase in the form of applications for Android devices on Google Play.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk:

We also have a free and interesting demonstration disk that explains our ecological field studies approach. The demo disk has short excerpts from all the seasonal field study videos as well as sample text from all the teacher manuals. The disk has an entertaining automatic walk through which describes the field study approach and explains how field studies meet education standards.

You can also download the Demo Disc from This is a virtual hybrid (for PC and Mac computers) CD-ROM image (one 563 Mb file "CD_Demo.iso"). You can write this image to the CD and use it in your computer in ordinary way. You also can use emulator software of virtual CD-ROM drive to play the disk directly from your hard disk.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk


Other Ecological Field Studies Instructive Manuals:

Autumn Season

  1. Orienteering in the Forest
  2. Procedure of the Geological Exposure Description
  3. Plotting a Profile of a River Valley Slope
  4. Simple Procedure of Soil Description
  5. Assessment of the Vital State of a Forest Based on Pine-tree Analysis
  6. Study of Species Composition and Number of Fungi
  7. Study of Species Composition and Census of Birds Using the Line Transect-counting Method
  8. Integrated Study Based on Landscape Profile
  9. Complex Environmental Assessment of Human Impact on an Area
  10. Assessment of Air Pollution by Lichen Indication Method

Winter Season

  1. Making a Campfire
  2. Simple УEyeФ Survey of the Field Study Site
  3. Study of Growth Dynamics of Trees Based on Annual Rings
  4. Mapping Forest Vegetation
  5. Green Plants Under Snow
  6. Methods of Observation of a Chickadee Flock's Territorial Behavior
  7. Procedure of Winter Mammals Route Census by Footprints
  8. Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Waters
  10. Study of Snow Cover Profile

Spring Season

  1. Let's Help Birds!
  2. Study of the Ecology of Early Flowering Plants
  3. Phenology of Plant Florescence
  4. Assessment of the Vital State of Coniferous Underbrush
  5. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part I: Forest Litter, Wood)
  6. Studies of Species Composition and Abundance of Amphibians
  7. Studying Minerals and Rocks in Your Area
  8. Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
  9. Studies of Bird Populations Size by Different Methods
  10. Study of Fauna of Spring Temporary Water Bodies

Summer Season

  1. Making a Herbarium
  2. The Study of Plants in Your Local Environment
  3. Study of the Vertical Structure of a Forest
  4. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part 2: Grass Layer, Tree Crowns and Air)
  5. Study of BirdsТ Nesting Life
  6. Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  7. The Study of Water Invertebrates in a Local River and Assessment of Its Environmental State
  8. Study of Plankton
  9. Assessment of Ecological Features of Meadows on the Base of Vegetation Cover
  10. Assessment of Environmental State of the Forest Based on LeavesТ Asymmetry

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© Ёкологический центр "Ёкосистема"Щ, ј.—. Ѕоголюбов / © Field Ecology Center "Ecosystem"Щ, Alexander Bogolyubov, 2001-2017