What’s Going On Here?

The UK’s climate is heating up, and that means plants are flowering earlier than ever before! A recent study looked at data from 420,000 recorded dates of first blooms for more than 400 species dating back to 1793. In the last recorded year, 2019 spring arrived 42 days earlier than its pre-1986 average.

What Does This Mean?

The change in flowering times between northern UK and southern England has narrowed from nine to four days since then due to acceleration caused by global heating as a result of our addiction to fossil fuels.

“Eco- mismatch” is a term used to describe the situation when plants and animals no longer experience an appropriate fluctuation in their environment. It can lead species towards collapse, if they are unable to adapt quickly enough with changing conditions or circumstances of ever increasing human interference into nature’s balance.

Mismatches such as these between bees and Orchids can have large knock-on effects for other species such as how Great Tit chicks fed solely on caterpillars who are in-turn related to the rate of orchid pollination by bees.

Why Should We Care?

The dates on which plants flower are recorded in Nature’s Calendar, a collection of 3.5m observations maintained by the Woodland Trust and Centre for Ecology Hydrology called “Nature’s Diary.” Anyone can submit data that will be used to create an accurate portrayal about when we should expect our flowers during seasonal change!

“The UK’s 30 million gardeners have an important role to play therefore in supporting our native biodiversity and counteracting the effects of any mismatch between flowering times and dependent wildlife,” said Prof Ulf Büntgen, at the University of Cambridge, who led the research.

Be Curious

  • Interested to know what ‘that plant’ is? Checkout the plant identifier app PlantSnap
  • Pre-springwatch (otherwise known as Winterwatch) is still available to view on BBC iPlayer
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