Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2019


Plant phenophases are highly sensitive to changes in temperature, precipitation, and photoperiod and have recently been identified as an indicator of climate change. Flowering time in particular appears to be sensitive to changes in temperature and plants around the world have already been observed flowering earlier than previously recorded. To determine how plants in the Midwest and Great Plains have reacted to climate change from the 1880s to present, 1,926 plant specimens made up of 10 species were examined to determine their phenophase and date of collection for each specimen was recorded. Analysis of these specimens shows that flowering time has become earlier over time for all species except for V. pedatifida. These changes in flowering time will have a profound effect on the diversity of plant communities in the regions mentioned above and will likely also affect many wildlife species, specifically pollinators.