It’s Flower Watch Month!

June 13, 2019

June is an active season for plants in the Northeast. Now that the snow has melted in most mountain regions, the photosynthesizers of the forest break open their buds, stretch out their leaves, and start to plan ahead for next year’s seedlings by producing their showy, often fragrant flowers.

You can track the flowers and add observations, learn how.

In the forest understory, Trilliums, Mayflowers, and Lillies start to bloom. Higher up on the summits, cushion plants known as Diapensa and small, purple and pink azaleas known as Lapland Rosebay and Alpine Azalea start to blossom.

Image of Lapland Rosebay

In comparison with previous seasons, Spring bloom arrived late this year in the Northeast. Meanwhile, much of the South experienced an early Spring by as much as two weeks according to the National Phenology Network. These shifting seasons could impact local ecosystems and the communities of species that rely on them. All the more reason to document how each spring and summer unfold in the mountains.

The AMC has helped track the arrival of Spring with NPN since 2014.  Last month, our volunteer Jim Greaney made the top of the weekly leaderboard with observations to Nature’s Notebook. To date, he has collected nearly 45000 observations of plant seasonality. This month, our intern Patrick is one of the top five observers in the country. Since his arrival at Pinkham in late May, he’s already collected over 2000 observations of local trees and forest forbs such as Sugar Maple and Red Trillium respectively.

You can join the Spring Flower Fling on our iNaturalist project pages: Northeast Alpine Flower Watch and Flowers and Fauna of the White Mountain National Forest. So far this season, we’ve already amassed over 500 photos of flowering species in the White Mountains and across Northeast Alpine summits. Join the Northeast Alpine Flower Watch and help us reach our goal of more than 1000 photos of alpine flowers and fruits before the end of the year.

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G. Murray

Conservation and Nature Notes blogger Georgia Murray has been AMC's Air Quality Staff Scientist since 2000. She has an M.S. degree in Earth Sciences from the University of New Hampshire and currently oversees the AMC's air quality and climate monitoring programs.