Genie or Gene? How do plants know when to bloom in the Spring?
Come Spring, almost overnight, trees sprout with smatterings of color. Green leaves. White, pink, or purple buds. Early blooming shrubs such as Dogwood, Pussy Willow, and Forsythia offer up creamy white, silky gray, and golden yellow.
Some plants bloom with warmer weather while others need longer days. Daffodils, Crocuses, and Snowdrops bloom as soon as it’s warm. Buttercups and wildflowers will wait until the days are longer.
Some early bloomers are caught by overnight frosts. Plants responding to light, instead of warm weather, are being surpassed by those with the longer growing season. Both these problems could be resolved with genetic breeding to make the Spring gene stronger or weaker.
Then there are the old mythical standbys. Trees know it’s time to start growing shoots when they sense mating animals and people nearby. Singing birds wake up the trees. Or the first robin does.
Regardless how the mystery of Spring is explained, it’s a spectacle to be enjoyed!
If you have any myths, old sayings, or adages to add, feel free to post.