2017 update: Common garden experiment–1999 cohort

exPt 1 showing the main planting of the 1999 cohort outlined in purple

In 2017 only 11 plants flowered of the surviving 750 plants in the 1999 cohort. That means that 57% of the original 1,303 plants are surviving and only 1.5% of the living individuals flowered! 2.4%  of living individuals flowered in 2016. In contrast, 29% of living plants flowered in 2015. We are not sure why so few plants flowered this year. It’s possible that lack of fire in the plot influenced flowering rates. This plot was due for a prescribed burn in spring 2017, but weather and scheduling conflicts kept us from burning.

Stuart described the provenance of the 1999 cohort, “The 99 cohort came from the seeds of plants that flowered in 1998 that we used to estimate seed set.” The cohort was divided into a planting in the main exPt1 and a planting in a plot south of there, near the farmhouse. These plants are part of a common garden experiment designed to study differences in fitness and life history characteristics among remnant populations. Every year, members of Team Echinacea assess survival and measure plant growth and fitness traits including plant status (i.e. if it is flowering or basal), plant height, leaf count, and number of flowering heads. We harvest all flowering heads in the fall, count all achenes, and estimate seed set for each head in the lab.

Start year: 1999

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots, qGen3

Physical specimens:

  • Although 11 plants flowered, only 4 normal heads were harvested from the 1999 cohort. At present, they await processing in the lab to find their achene count and seed set.

Data collected:

  • We used Visors to collect plant growth and fitness traits—plant status, height, leaf count, number of flowering heads, presence of insects—these data have been added to the database
  • We used Visors to collect flowering phenology data—start and end date of flowering for all individual heads—which is ready to be added to the exPt1 phenology dataset
  • Eventually, we will have achene count and seed set data for all flowering plants (stay tuned)


  • See the exPt1 core dataset where yrPlanted == ‘1999’ for 1999 cohort fitness measurements

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