Winter weather creates latest spring bloom for 30 years, says Kew researcher

Spring plants are flowering at one of their latest times in the last half century, RBG Kew wildlife and environment recording co-ordinator Sandra Bell has reported.

Crocuses late at Kew. Image: Kew
Crocuses late at Kew. Image: Kew

Daffodils, aconites and crocuses are all more than a month later than last year after the worst winter weather for 30 years.

She said Kew has been examining data since the 1950s and this is "one of the latest flowerings of these early spring plants since records began".

Bell cited the winter of 1962/63 as an "exceptional" one before this year, with bulbs under several feet of snow. However, she explained that this was "an unusual year" rather than a sign that climate change had stopped bringing flowering forward. Wholesale cut daffodil prices have doubled to 40p because of delayed growth.

RA Scamp Daffodils, in Cornwall, is three weeks behind, with cut-flower prices up due to scarcity. Nocton, in Lincolnshire, which grows 230m daffodils a year, is four weeks behind on harvesting but will finish only two weeks later, though continental exports will end by Easter. James Hosking, who grows 20m stems at Fentongollan, near Truro, Cornwall, has seen his harvest put back three weeks.

FLOWERING TIMES

Narcissus pseudonarcissus
2010 - 1 March
2000s average - 27 January
1980s average - 11 February

Winter aconite
2010 - 5 February
2000s average - 11 January
1980s average - 29 January

Crocus chrysanthus
2010 - 1 March
2000s average - 2 February
1980s average - 15 February

Pyrus 'Chanticleer'
2010 - 1 March
2000s average - 24 February
1980s average - no figures

First ladybird - 1 March
First red admiral butterfly - 1 March


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