Predicting the Weather With Plants

Look to These Plants for Your Daily Forecast

July 15, 2020
Morning Glory Blue
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Wondering what the weather will be today? Look no further than your garden! These weather-predicting plants are known to be good forecasters.

Watch for Weather-Predicting Plants

If the small white flower of common chickweed, or stitchwort (Stellaria media), is closed, this means that rain is close at hand. In dry weather, it is regularly open from about 9:00 in the morning until noon.

So it is also with the purple sandwort and the pimpernel. The latter, also known as the “poor man’s weatherglass,” closes when the air’s humidity reaches about 80 percent—hence the adage:

Pimpernel, pimpernel, tell me true,
Whether the weather be fine or no.

On the other hand, don’t put too much faith in Tragopogon pratensis (aka yellow goat’s beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon), as this sleeper does indeed nod off, regardless of the weather.

When the African marigold opens later than 8:00 a.m. or closes before 5:00 p.m., rain can be expected. Keep an eye, too, on morning glory blooms: Wide-open flowers are a sign of fair weather, but closed petals indicate that rain’s on the way.

Many other flower varieties close their petals as rain or night approaches, to open them again after the rain or on the next morning: common daisies, germander speedwell, hieraciums, red campion, succory, tulips, white water lily, wintergreen, and wood sorrel, to name a few.

If any of the following open later or close earlier than their usual times, watch for rain: daylily (opens at 7:00 a.m., closes at 7:00 p.m.); dandelion (opens at 7:00 a.m., closes at 8:00 p.m.); lettuce (opens at 8:00 a.m., closes at 9:00 p.m.).

In a pine forest, your friend is the pinecone. While not a traditional bloom, it is believed to be one of the most reliable precipitation prognosticators. In dry conditions, a cone’s scales stand separately and stiffly; in dampness, the scales soften a bit and close up to assume the cone’s familiar shape.

Watch for these signs—only a few of nature’s weather indicators—and keep an eye out for others, too. You never know what you’ll notice.

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