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Kim Parsons Research Assistant MUN Botanical Garden

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Kim Parsons Research Assistant MUN Botanical Garden What is PlantWatch? PlantWatch is part of the NatureWatch series. It is a volunteer monitoring program to help identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. What is PlantWatch?

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Presentation Transcript
Kim Parsons

Research Assistant

MUN Botanical Garden

what is plantwatch
What is PlantWatch?
  • PlantWatch is part of the NatureWatch series.
  • It is a volunteer monitoring program to help identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment.
what is plantwatch3
What is PlantWatch?
  • PlantWatch is a joint initiative between Nature Canada and Environment Canada’s Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network (EMAN).
  • PlantWatch partners include representatives from each province and territory.
what is plantwatch4
What is PlantWatch?
  • PlantWatch is a national phenology study.
  • Phenology is the study of important events in the lives of plants and animals.
  • For PlantWatch this is when a plant flowers as the weather warms in the spring.
what is plantwatch5
What is PlantWatch?
  • The goal of PlantWatch is to encourage Canadians to help scientists find out how our natural environment is changing due to changes in climate.
  • We can get involved with this project by recording flowering times for selected plant species and reporting data.
why watch plants
Why watch plants?
  • By watching plants you can learn about Canada’s botanical diversity and help scientists track the effects of global warming and climate change.
  • Plants are measuring sticks for climate change.
climate change
Climate Change
  • Globally the earth’s temperature has risen 1oC.
  • Predicted temperature increase of 3-4oC in the Atlantic Provinces.
  • Winter freeze-thaw events becoming more frequent.
  • Precipitation (including snowfall) is expected to increase.
why watch plants8
Why watch plants?
  • The plants chosen for PlantWatch bloom in the spring as they accumulate heat (when the temperature rises).
  • Some of the species are flowering a month earlier than they were a century ago.
why watch plants9
Why watch plants?
  • Reporting on PlantWatch species in your community can help researchers discover how the climate is changing.
  • Any contribution you can make is important.
how to get involved
How to get involved
  • Climate is changing and we need to monitor these changes.
  • We need more PlantWatchers in Newfoundland and Labrador!
  • Anyone can become a PlantWatch participant!
  • It’s an excellent activity for families, classrooms and outdoor groups.
how to plantwatch
How to PlantWatch
  • Choose your plants
  • Use the PlantWatch website ( or the PlantWatch guide to find out what plants are being watched in your area.
  • Be sure to select plants that you can observe everyday.
how to plantwatch12
How to PlantWatch

2. Select your site

  • Choose plants growing in an easy to access, flat area.
  • Avoid sites with unusual temperature or light conditions.
how to plantwatch13
How to PlantWatch

3. Mark your territory

  • Mark the plant (or patch of plants) with a tag.
how to plantwatch14
How to PlantWatch

4. Watch your plants

  • Read the species’ descriptions on the PlantWatch website or in the guide to help you recognize “first bloom” and “mid bloom” and “leaf out”.
  • Record the dates for each.
how to plantwatch15
How to PlantWatch

5. Submit your observations

  • Submit observations directly on the website.


  • Mail the data sheet to the PlantWatch Coordinator for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Species selected for

Newfoundland and Labrador












Red Maple







  • It is a low, erect woodland plant

(10 cm tall), that grows in colonies.

Leaves and twigs:

  • Smooth edged, oval leaves with parallel veins.
  • Four to six leaves form a ring around the stem.

Flowers and fruit:

  • Each plant has a single cluster with four showy bracts that look like petals.
  • In the center are tiny flowers that are green or purple or cream in color.
  • The fruit are red berries.


  • A forest plant, crackerberry tolerates a variety of soil conditions.
  • When the flowers are open, black central dots are visible (stigmas).
  • First Bloom: when the first flowers are open.
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of flowers are open in observed plants.


  • Common plant, 5-40 cm tall. Introduced from Europe.

Leaves and twigs:

  • Deeply toothed leaves grow from the base of the plant.
  • Leaves appear before flowers.

R. Hopkins


Flowers and fruit:

  • Flower heads are yellow and the flower stem is hollow and leafless.
  • After full bloom, white, fluffy, round balls of seeds appear. The parachuted seeds are blown away by the wind.
  • Main flowering is in spring, but scattered blooms continue all summer.
  • Note: flowers close at night and on cloudy days.

R. Hopkins



  • Dandelions grow almost anywhere, but are common in wastelands and cultivated areas.


  • Make sure your patch is not mowed until your bloom observations are made.
  • Choose plants at least 10 m away from buildings.
  • First Bloom: when first flowers are open.
  • Mid bloom: When the first seed-head opens, forming a white, fluffy ball of seeds.

R. Hopkins

Labrador Tea
  • General:
  • Erect evergreen shrub, up to 1 m tall
  • Leaves and twigs:
  • Leathery, narrow, oblong leaves (2-5 cm
  • Long) with matted hairs on the underside.
  • The edges of the leaves roll under to
  • help retain moisture.
  • Twigs are densely covered with hairs.
Labrador Tea
  • Flowers and fruit:
  • Five-petalled, white flowers, occur in rounded clusters at the branch tips.
  • Habitat:
  • Shade-intolerant and often found on moist to wet soils.
  • Common on open peatland dominated by sphagnum moss and in open-canopy coniferous forests.
Labrador Tea


  • Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.
  • First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants.

R. Hopkins



  • Medium-sized coniferous tree; grows up to 20 m tall, with scaly bark.
  • In the fall, the needles turn yellow and drop.

Leaves and twigs:

  • The long, slender branches have small woody stumps that produce the needle bundles.
  • Needles, 1-2.5 cm long, emerge as soft green tufts during spring growth. Each tuft can have 10-20 needles.

R. Hopkins


Flowers and fruit:

  • Male and female cones can appear on the same branch.
  • Male cones: small mounds of yellow-brown pollen sacs that fall after shedding pollen
  • Female cones: pinkish-purple mini-cones about 1 cm long.
  • Note: Observe male cones only for PlantWatch.


  • Grows in moist to wet areas.
  • First Bloom: when first pollen is being shed by the male cones (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: When 50% of the male cones are shedding pollen.
  • Leaf out: When the tufts of the needles are lengthening and starting to spread open at the tip ( 3 places).
Red Maple

Red Maple


  • Deciduous tree with grey bark. Flowers appear before leaves.

Leaves and twigs:

  • Twigs are slender, shiny and dark red with whitish dots.
  • Leaf buds are rounded, dark red-wine in colour.
  • Leaves are red-tinged in the spring, green in summer and bright red in the fall.
red maple
Red Maple

Flowers and fruit:

  • Flowers emerge from dark red buds in the spring.
  • Male and female flowers usually grow on different branches of the same tree.
  • Female flowers are red while male flowers are yellowish green.
  • Note: only observe male flowers for plant watch.
Red Maple


  • Trees are usually found in swamps and moist soils.
  • Moderately shade tolerant and they also grow in dry areas.
  • First Bloom: when the first male flowers are open (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of flowers are open.
  • Leafing: when the first leaves push out of the bud and unfold completely (3 places)
nl plantwatch observation form
NL PlantWatch Observation Form

Kimberley Parsons


33 Lakeside Drive, Deer Lake NL.

A0K 2E0

(709) 737-3585

[email protected]

NL PlantWatch Observation Form

Route 430 N

NW of Deer Lake

49o 10’; 57o26’

NW of Route 430/TCH

NL PlantWatch Observation Form

May 6

May 12

1, 5W, 7, 12, 19

May 26

June 3

2, 5SW, 7, 11, 16

May 20

May 26

June 6

1, 5NW, 7, 10, 16

June 10

June 24

2, 6NW ,7, 11, 16

thank you plantwatchers
Thank you PlantWatchers!
  • Any Questions?
  • Please take PlantWatch package (forms, newsletters and guides) on your way out.
  • Don’t forget to visit the websites and
Is spring coming early this year?

Help us find out!