Floral Report Card at Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

The Wellesley College Botanic Gardens' Floral Report Card garden is located in Wellesley, MA and is also know as The Wellesley College Climate Change Monitoring Garden. There visitors can see six native wildflowers and grasses that were collected from different hardiness zones (USDA hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, and 7) spanning from Minnesota to Arkansas. The zones are based on minimum winter temperatures. Wellesley is currently located in USDA hardiness Zone 6. 

USDA Hardiness Map, 2012

Scientists use the data collected here to compare with data collected at other participating botanic gardens. They compare phenology with the local weather at each botanic garden. Seasonal progress at each location is measured using "growing degree days", which sum up the heat accumulation (number of days warm enough for plant growth and the temperature) over a growing season.

Our changing climate
How do wildflowers adapt?
Floral Report Card

 

Photos courtesy of Wellesley Botanic Gardens

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Learn More About the FRC Species

Foxglove beard tongue
Penstemon digitalis

Penstemon means five stamens in Greek. Four of the stamens are fertile (make pollen) and one is sterile. The commonname of beard tongue comes from the tuft of hairs on the sterile stamen resembling a beard.

Read more on the species info page.

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Little bluestem is a very widespread native prairie grass that provides very important ecosystem services in wildlands, including erosion control, forage for elk and deer, seeds for birds, and cover for small mammals and birds. It is also gaining popularity for garden use, providing nice color and pretty white, fluffy seed heads in the fall.

Read more on the species info page.

New England aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

These fall asters can be found in forest edge and meadow habitats. They have large purple and yellow flowers and resemble other asters in many other ways.

Read more on the species info page.

Obedient plant
Physostegia virginiana

This plant is known as the Obedient plant because if you push the flowers to the right or left, they will stay in thenew position, at least temporarily. The flowers look like small snapdragons, but the square stem is a clue that this plant is in the Mint family.

Read more on the species info page.

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Switchgrass has long been popular as a forage grass and for erosion control, but has more recently been touted for its ornamental use and for development as a possible biofuel crop. Several cultivars are available for garden use.

Read more on the species info page.

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Wild bergamot (also known as Bee-balm) is highly aromatic. Because it is part of the mint family, the stems of Wild bergamot are square with gray-green foliage. Its flowers generally bloom between June and September.

Read more on the species info page.