Evidence for climate change?

Outside the Clegg Building, the Cornus kousa is looking amazing. Here’s a picture I took two days ago (21st May). The creamy ‘leaves’ are called bracts. A bract is neither a leaf nor a flower, but it’s often associated with flowers. Bracts are modified leaves that differ from normal leaves in various ways. They can be smaller, larger, or have a different colour, shape, or texture. Unlike leaves, which can occur anywhere along the stem, bracts are typically found just below a flower, a flower stalk, or an inflorescence.


Four years ago I took a picture of the same tree at roughly the same stage in its phenological cycle. It was taken on 31st May, later than this year. What might explain this year’s earlier display? A wet spring? Global heating?


If you are interested in phenology, the scientific name of recording cyclical dates – budding, blossoming, leaf fall etc – you might be interested in this short piece from a newspaper. https://www.theguardian.com/science/article/2024/may/15/plantwatch-britains-volunteer-naturalists-provide-vital-knowledge

Bob Moore

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