Pesky Plant Trackers campaign

The first season of the Pesky Plant Trackers campaign has come to a close. Thank you for doing the important work of tracking phenology of these invasive plants! We hope that you will join us again next year - your reports of the same locations tracked in multiple years are critical to help researchers understand how these plants respond to climate conditions.

Did you enjoy participating in this campaign? If so, please invite a friend to join us next year!

Did you track a flowering wild parsnip plant this year? Make sure to mark your plant as "dead" in Nature's Notebook! We have a video that shows you where to do this on your Observation Deck. Because wild parsnip populations often persist from year-to-year, you can return to your site in March or April to resume tracking! At that time, use your Observation Deck to add new plants.

Japanese knotweeds are perennial, so you can continue to track the same individual plant or patch for that species next year.

Want to stay connected with Pesky Plant Trackers this winter? Join UNM's Abbie Anderson for Tea Tuesdays! Abbie has a great line-up of guest speakers for upcoming Teas on December 15th, January 19th, and February 16th from 3-4 pm CDT. Register here.
Winter can also be a great time to find patches of wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed to track next spring. Learn how to spot dead and dormant plants in this great training resource from UNM. You can also explore reports on EDDMaps (see wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed) or iNaturalist (see wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed) as a guide for where to look for these plants in your area next spring.

Photo: Dead stems of knotweed can be easy to spot due to their rusty red color.
Credit: Abbie Anderson
What you are reporting on Pesky Plants so far this year
Collectively, you reported Japanese knotweed and wild parsnip at 40 sites sites this year, up from 32 at the time of our last message. We had 31 observers contribute data to the campaign this year on 49 plants or patches of plants.

The dots in shades of blue on the map below represent sites reporting on knotweed and the dots in orange/yellow represent parsnip. The darker dots represent sites with more data submitted. Sites with bright green outlines represent sites tracking both species.
The lines on the Activity Curves below show the proportion of "yes" records that you submitted for leaves, flowers, and fruits in wild parsnip. Some of you reported leaves in April and May, with a few reports of flowers in early June. You reported a second peak in leaves, flowers, and fruits in June and July.
For Japanese knotweed, you started reporting leaves in April. Your reports of flowering started in June and peaked in early September. Your reports of fruiting started in June and peaked in October.
Did you earn your Pesky Plant Trackers badge this year? You can earn this badge by observing wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed 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!
Abbie Anderson
Program Coordinator
Pesky Plant Trackers
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator