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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Phenology (contraction of phenomenology; that is, the science of phenomena) is the study of the relationships between the climate of any place and the annual periods of plants and animals. Plants vegetate, bloom, and ripen fruit at more or less definite seasons, each after its kind; animals mate, bear young, migrate and hibernate each also after its kind; but these recurring events are related to the climate in which these things live: with these inter-relationships phenology has to do. The most complete means of comparing the climate of one year with that of another are the life-events of the animals and plants of the years. Thermometrical readings are the customary measures, but the thermometers record only temperature, whereas local climate is modified by conditions of humidity, cloudiness, the sequence of atmospheric changes, and many subtle agencies which cannot be measured by means of instruments. Living things are the agents that really measure climate. A record of the life-events of living things, therefore, even though imperfect, should contribute to the science of climatology ; and incidentally it should contribute much to the science of biology. Records of plant-events are more comparable than those of animal-events, because plants are stationary and have no volition to adapt themselves to inclemencies by means of change of position, diet, or otherwise; therefore, plants emphatically express climatal influence. A record of the first blooming of a given apple tree, for example, during a series of years would give comparable measures of the lateness or earliness of the different seasons. Most so- called phenological observations in this country have been mere records of dates of blooming, leafing, migration of birds, peeping of frogs, and the like, without correlative data respecting the local climate. They are therefore of relatively little consequence to science. In this country the literature of phenology is meager. See Bailey, Essay 17,"Survival of the Unlike,"and "Weather Review," Sept. 1896, U. S. Weather Bureau. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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