During a recent muddle through the marsh, a bright yellow color stood out on the ground. Marsh marigolds, Caltha palustris, typically bloom in April or May. This year we were visited by these marigolds quite early. Why the early bloom?
Record high temperatures were reached on eight of the first fourteen days of November this year. Due to unseasonably warm weather, some plants that rely upon temperature cues for phenology changes have been tricked into believing spring has come. The marigolds aren’t the only plants that have been bamboozled, as some yarrow and tansy have also begun to bloom. You may have noticed a few leaves sprouting from buds of balsam poplars. It is unclear whether these “signs of spring” in fall will become a yearly trend and how this will affect the plants’ ability to thrive come the real spring months of April and May.
by Emma Rohleder and Maria Keeler