Determining how long the plant has been in bloom

Claytonia virginica

Flowers at the bottom of stems bloom first and turn into fruits, as buds above them develop. This allows us to figure out the stage of bloom – if there are numerous buds at the top of the stem above any open flowers, the plant is in an early stage of bloom (photo on left). If there are few or no buds left, and fruits are developing below any flowers, the plant is in a late stage of bloom (photo on right). Therefore, we can estimate how long a plant population has been in bloom based on the relative proportion of buds, flowers, and fruits in the population.

Claytonia virginica buds

Claytonia virginica fruit
Claytonia virginica flowers and fruits