08-06-14 Phenology Note

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08-06-14 Phenology Note

August 6, 2014

Prairie Wolfe's Phenology Field Note displays late season colors and ripening seeds.

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Phenology Field Note Late season colors and ripening seeds Prairie Wolfe August 5th, 2014

Phenology Locations

Antelope bitterbrush seeds fall from the shrub when they reach maturity. Rodents covet this high-protein food source for winter caches (Purshia tridentata, Whaley).

Knapweed seed head weevils feed on flowers before laying eggs (Larinus minutus on Centaurea stoebe). Eggs hatch within three days, after which the larvae enter the seed head (Lang et al. 1996).

Kochia continues its determined march toward seed production, despite repeated mowing (Kochia scoparia, Center Pivot).

The fungal pathogen Ustilago bullata readily infects cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum, above). I have also spotted similar looking infections in Bromus carinatus and Bromus hordeaceus (left to right, respectively). Infections occurred from the top of Baldy to the floodplain. U. bullata prevents host plants from producing viable seed.

Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) is an important late-season pollen source (Mader et al. 2011). It blooms in the floodplain.

From the vibrant orange of ripe wax currant berries (Ribes cereum) to the rusty red of senescing ninebark leaves (Physocarpus malvaceus), warm colors mark the turning of the season as summer progress toward the equinox.

Brilliant violet blooms of aspen fleabane covered the forest floors throughout July (Erigeron speciosus, North Ridge).

Water once again became a scarce resource after the flood waters receded. This stark line in vegetative health occurs on an incline of less than 8 inches.

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