International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 82–87

An examination of the relationship between flowering times and temperature at the national scale using long-term phenological records from the UK

  • T. H. Sparks
  • E. P. Jeffree
  • C. E. Jeffree
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004840000049

Cite this article as:
Sparks, T., Jeffree, E. & Jeffree, C. Int J Biometeorol (2000) 44: 82. doi:10.1007/s004840000049


This paper examines the mean flowering times of 11 plant species in the British Isles over a 58-year period, and the flowering times of a further 13 (and leafing time of an additional 1) for a reduced period of 20 years. Timings were compared to Central England temperatures and all 25 phenological events were significantly related (P<0.001 in all but 1 case) to temperature. These findings are discussed in relation to other published work. The conclusions drawn from this work are that timings of spring and summer species will get progressively earlier as the climate warms, but that the lower limit for a flowering date is probably best determined by examining species phenology at the southern limit of their distribution.

Key words FloweringPhenologyClimate changeTemperature

Copyright information

© International Society of Biometeorology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. H. Sparks
    • 1
  • E. P. Jeffree
    • 2
  • C. E. Jeffree
    • 3
  1. 1.NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 2LS, UK e-mail:, Fax: +44-1487-773467GB
  2. 2.8 The Chestnuts, Winscombe, North Somerset BS25 ILD, UKGB
  3. 3.Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, King’s Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UKGB