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Year-to-year changes

We all know how the situation goes. You get home from a long day of work, take off your shoes, flop down on the couch, and think to yourself “There’s no way that there’s very much variation in echinacea flowering from year to year. ”

I know, we’ve all been there.

I’m here to tell you that, despite what you might think, there isĀ HUGE variation in echinacea flowering from year to year. When these punctilious perennials decide that it’s time to flower, they really seem to go at it as a group.

And if you’re still sitting there thinking “Well a small amount of year to year change is to be expected” then let me hit you with some visual proof.

Here is a picture of ALL of the heads from Experimental Plot 1 in 2017. They fill up about 1 grocery bag total. Not a bad haul!

Our plot 1 heads from 2017

Now, let’s take a look at 2018. I spy just a few more bags than in 2017:

Our plot 1 heads from 2018 in many bags

Now it’s time for the real question: why? What is it that makes echinacea flower in these large groups? They cant phone a friend and say “hey dude, you gonna flower this year?” They must respond to signals or communicate chemically or do any of a hundred other things to flower in groups like this. All I know is that we’ve got a lot of 2018 cleaning in our future.

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