Earlier blossom

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Whilst I was cycling along the canal coming back from the lab, I noticed several trees that were already at an advanced stage of their flowering. I remember finding it quite puzzling since we were still in the first half of the month of February, but this didn’t prevent my mind from jumping to a different topic.

A couple of days later, I happened to be taking the same path and this time I stopped to identify the trees: Prunus mahaleb (mahaleb cherry or St Lucie cherry), a variety of cherry trees commonly found in this region of the world. I then checked the usual flowering time of those trees and found out that despite a known variability in the flowering time of that species, trees usually start blossoming from mid-March onwards, until late April/beginning of May.

Today is still February and I noticed those trees about 2 weeks ago. It thus seems that those trees are flowering about one month earlier than they used to do, as described in the literature*.

I started paying more attention to the usual early signs of Spring time and could notice an increased number of chirping birds. If I hadn’t taken the time to check the tree flowering time, I would only have a fuzzy feeling of a little-thing-getting-a-bit-wrong. But now, I can feel, hear, see that things are changing, that Spring is coming more early. Temperatures in February were unusually high. Trees are flowering earlier. I guess birds will start reproducing earlier. I’ve read somewhere that the reproduction shift is faster for animal species than the displacement of vegetal species, leading to desynchronisation in their ecosystem. And that the mountain landscape are a very good example of global warming at a big scale, because there, the effects of global warming are more striking than in the valley.

Things are changing. We’ll get to see how different species adapt.

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References:

  • Guitian, J. (1994). Selective fruit abortion in Prunus mahaleb (Rosaceae). American Journal of Botany, 81(12), 1555-1558.
  • Hrotkó, K. (1996) Variability in Prunus mahaleb L. for cherry rootstock breeding. Acta horticulturae.
  • Hodun, M. Hodun, G. (2002). Evaluation of flowering of 90 sour cherry cultivars and their classification in regard to the season of blooming. Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Sklodowska. Sectio EEE Horticultura (Poland)

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