When should I do my observations?

Printable field instructions

Bloom time.

Spring beauty blooms in early spring, but the exact timing varies widely from year to year. In the Southern US, it begins around February; in the Mid-Atlantic, it begins around March; in New England, it begins in March/April. In most places, it will flower for less than a month. Please check the page entitled “Is Claytonia blooming in your area?” to see if others have observed flowers in your area and to plan your observations.

It is most helpful to us if you can do observations throughout Claytonia bloom. However, the period of Claytonia bloom is very short, and often interrupted by rainy weather. Therefore, we encourage you to get your 3 sets of observations done as soon as possible, and then add more if you have extra time!

Weather. As much as possible, observations should be done on warm, sunny days, when pollinator activity is highest. However, weather in early spring is unpredictable. If you have flexibility in your schedule, please attempt to schedule your observations for a sunny day. Sometimes it will be necessary to reschedule your observations due to unexpected rain or cloudy skies. Please record as much weather information as possible. If you do not have a thermometer, please check the weather forecast and record a best guess for the temperature during your observations (and note that you did so).

Timing of Observations. You can do your observations at any point throughout the morning and early afternoon, as long as the flowers are open – however, the best time to observe is between 10am and 12:30pm. On a warm day, Claytonia flowers will open between 8am and 9am; early in the season, they will likely open a bit later due to cooler temperatures. On very warm days (>80°), the flowers will likely start closing by noon or 1pm – so be sure to get your observations done in time!

Please note!

It is not important that you do your observations on exactly the right day, in exactly the right weather, at exactly the right time.  Some springs, this is impossible! It is most important that observations are done during nice weather – if you need to do two sets of observations during peak bloom, no problem at all. When in doubt, just do the observations, and make notes on everything you can – the date, time, comments on the bloom time, and comments on the weather.