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Phenological Pattern in the Shortgrass Prairie

C. E. Dickinson and Jerrold L. Dodd
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 96, No. 2 (Oct., 1976), pp. 367-378
DOI: 10.2307/2424076
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2424076
Page Count: 12
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Phenological Pattern in the Shortgrass Prairie
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Abstract

Data were collected for 1 year on 34 range plant species and for 2 years on six species to describe phenological timing in the shortgrass prairie of northeastern Colorado and also to determine whether there were any distinct groups of plants for which a single species could be used as a phenological indicator. Observations were made in four grazing treatments and two water amendment areas (one with 100 kg/ha mineral N added). Water amendments altered the phenology of some species, while grazing and nitrogen treatments had no measurable effects on phenology. Standard cool- and warm-season classification of plants does not adequately describe the phenological dynamics of the short-grass prairie. For example, Buchloe dactyloides, a warm-season grass, flowers with Agropyron smithii, a cool-season grass, rather than with Bouteloua gracilis, another warm-season grass. Four general categories of plants having different flowering capacities are recognized: blooming only once very early in the growing season; blooming twice with a summer dormancy period; blooming once during midsummer with blooming delayed during drought; and blooming only once late in the growing season.

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