Cloned and flowering dogwoods campaign

Did you know you have a very important plant in your yard? Your observations on cloned dogwood ( Cornus florida 'Appalachian Spring') and native flowering dogwood ( Cornus florida ) contribute to a long term project seeking to understand the impact of local environmental conditions on plants across the country. 

As part of the Dogwood Genome Project , researchers at universities in the southeastern US will use your observations to identify variation in the phenology of flowering dogwood varieties and investigate the genes that may be influencing the timing of leaf-out, flowering, and leaf-fall.

If you are joining us for another year - welcome back! Multiple years of observations on dogwoods are so valuable to help us learn about the phenology of these species. If you are new to the campaign - we are glad to have you and look forward to sharing results from this year's campaign!
How to get started
1. If you have not already done so, set up a site and add your plants to it in  Nature's Notebook . Visit our website for further details on using Nature's Notebook  to observe phenology of flowering or cloned dogwoods

Now is a great time to make sure you have registered the correct dogwood varietal (cloned or flowering dogwood). If you have registered your plant incorrectly, email .
2. Start checking your dogwood (at least weekly) for leaf buds and flower buds. 

3. Report your observations . Periodically log into your Nature's Notebook account and transfer your observations from your paper data sheet into the online reporting system.

Did you know?  You can enter your observations directly using our mobile apps for Android or Apple devices.

Due to the early spring that we are seeing across parts of the Southeast, some of you are seeing activity on your dogwoods already! One of the questions we get asked most frequently is ' How can I tell the difference between a dogwood leaf bud and flower bud? ' 

Here are some tips:
Photo: Derek Ramsey, Wikimedia Commons

Flower buds typically appear before leaf buds on dogwoods, and are rounder in appearance than leaf buds. 

You should start reporting "yes" to the phenophase Flowers or flower buds when the flower bud that is present throughout the winter starts to expand its bud scales and show the flower buds inside.  

Also, remember that the "flowers" you are looking for are actually the small yellow/green flowers inside the large white bracts. Do not report a "yes" to Open flowers until you see the small yellow/green flowers open to show their reproductive parts. 
Photo: S. Seiberling, UNC Herbarium

Dogwood leaf buds are more pointy in appearance than flower buds. You should report a "no" to the phenophase Breaking leaf buds until you start to see the green leaf tip emerge from the end of the bud. 

Once you see the green leaf tips, report a "yes" to Breaking leaf buds until you estimate that all the leaves have expanded and you can see the petiole, or leaf stalk, attaching the leaves to the stem. 
If you think you have misidentified a flower or leaf bud, you can correct your submitted observations. Learn more here.
What you are reporting so far this year
Observers have reported on dogwoods at 52 sites so far this year. This includes a flowering dogwood site outside of Portland, OR and a lone cloned dogwood site in southern Missouri. Is your site on the map below?
Sites reporting on flowering (represented by blue) and cloned (Appalachian Spring, represented by orange) dogwoods in 2019. Darker colors represent sites with more observations for that species.
The site submitting the most data so far this year is UNC Asheville - Phenology Trail ! Thank you for your efforts! You can see their dark blue dot on the map above.

UNC Asheville has submitted 358 records on flowering dogwood this year. They first reported flowers or flower buds on January 19th.
Across all sites, flowering dogwood observers started reporting flowers or flower buds in mid January. No observer has reported flowering on cloned dogwoods yet this year.
The majority of reports of breaking leaf buds for flowering dogwood were reported starting in mid-February. No observer has reported breaking leaf buds on cloned dogwoods yet this year.

Earn your Flower Follower badge! You can earn this badge by observing dogwoods once a week for six separate weeks in the same year. See it on your Observation Deck .

Thank you for your contributions to this important project!
Erin Posthumus