Phenology is the study of periodic or seasonal events in the life cycles of living things. For example, plant phenologists might record when growth resumes in spring, when the capsules of mosses release their spores, when flowering plants are in full bloom, and when those same plants develop fruits and seeds. 

Phenology is both fun and practical. The data phenologists gather can help predict when to plant crops, when allergy season begins, when to look for and treat invasive species and plant pests, and how living things are responding to climate change.  

With a little training, anyone can collect phenological data. A variety of citizen scientist projects are open to volunteers from any walk of life. Check out the Volunteer Scientists page of the USA National Phenology Network. See also the website for the Minnesota Phenology Network

An open, pink flower of smooth wild rose.
Smooth Wild Rose on June 6, 2021, near Hamel, MN.

Oriental Bittersweet in Winter

The yellow capsules and scarlet arils of Oriental Bittersweet stand out in winter. Oriental, Asian or Asiatic Bittersweet ( Celastrus orbicu...