It's easy to pick a plant to observe!
You can do any of the following:
Plants by Group
As a Project BudBurst volunteer, you have been asked to monitor a plant throughout various stages of its life cycle and watch for several important phenophases. Phenophases are stages in a plant's life such as the first flower for the season, the first leaf, the first fruit, and more. To help you decide which plant(s) and what phenophases to monitor, we've selected many plant species and organized them into five distinct plant groups. These plants were chosen because they are easy to identify and in many cases are widespread, spanning the continental United States.
Read about the plant groups below and click on a plant group to see the list of species and phenophases for that group. You can also download the Master Plant List or check out our plant lists by state ! If you do not see the species you want to monitor on our list, that's okay! You can still monitor it! We welcome the observation of any plant species for which you have access. Our Get Started! resources can help you learn more about how to monitor your chosen plant(s).
Wildflowers and Herbs
As its name implies, a wildflower is a flower that grows in the wild. Simply defined, it is a flower that grows 'on its own' without needing cultivation. Some wildflowers are native species, that is, they are indigenous to an area or region. Other wildflowers have been introduced to an area but are able to thrive on their own. Some species of wildflowers are very common while others are quite rare. Check our List of Wildflowers and Herbs
Grass or graminoid: a grass, rush, or sedge species (member of Poaceae, Juncaceae, or Cyperaceae). Members of the lily family, such as beargrass, are often mistakenly assumed to be grasses because of the dense clump of long narrow leaves. True graminoids have thin fine leaves and tiny wind pollinated flowers. Most lilies have thicker fleshier leaves and large regular flowers. In grasses stems are hollow and leaves wrap around stem and are generally attached at nodes or distinct swellings on stem, and they die back at the end of the growing season. Check our List of Grasses
Deciduous Trees and Shrubs
Deciduous trees and shrubs are plants that lose their leaves at the end of each growing season; usually during the winter, but can also occur during a dry season in warm climates. In Project BudBurst, we group deciduous tress and shrubs together, however, there re significant differences. Deciduous trees are generally defined as woody, self-supporting perennial plant that have a single main stem and grow to more than 20 feet tall. Deciduous shrubs are woody, perennial plants that are smaller than trees (less than 20 feet) and usually have several stems. Check our List of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs
Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Evergreen trees and shrubs can be non flowering plants like conifers, or ferns or flowering plants such as broadleaved shrubs like Rhododendrons, sagebrush, or Labrador tea. It is any such plant which has leaves which last more than one year. Note that some plants are "wintergreen" that is they form in fall and overwinter in the leaf stage, then in the spring they flower and die back. So they are not evergreens since leaves do not last more than one year. True wintergreens (Pyrola species) ironically enough are not only wintergreen but they are usually green year around and evergreen (!). Check our List of Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Conifer trees or rarely shrubs which do not form flowers or fruits, and are members of the order Coniferales which includes pines, cedars, junipers, redwoods and their relatives. Most of these plants have evergreen needles, although some have deciduous needles (for example larches, baldcypress, dawn redwoods). They have male cones which produce pollen that is wind dispersed, and woody cones where seeds are born. Check our List of Conifers