, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 157–169 | Cite as

Flowering of allergenically important plant species in relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation system and thermal time in the Czech Republic

  • Lenka Hájková
  • Zdeněk Hubálek
  • Věra Kožnarová
  • Lenka Bartošová
  • Martin Možný
Original Paper


This paper analyses long-term (1960–2015) onset of flowering in 16 native terrestrial plants (11 of them produce important allergens) recorded in different parts of the Czech Republic (southern, central and northern part) in relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index of the preceding winter and thermal data—growing degree-days (GDD) and soil temperature. Flowering occurred significantly earlier following positive winter NAO phases (causing spring to be warmer than normal in Central Europe) in nearly all early-flowering (February, March, April) species; high Pearson correlation values were recorded in, e.g. wood anemone, common snowdrop, goat willow, common hazel and common alder. There was found a difference between the southern and northern part of the country, e.g. in silver birch and pedunculate oak. Out of the later-flowering (May–July) plant species, black elder and meadow foxtail also significantly correlated with the winter NAO index, lime tree correlated less markedly. The best results of a threshold for calculation of GDD to onset of beginning of flowering were found in lime tree—it was 5 °C at all three stations. Results of other taxa were more variable (e.g. 4–7 °C in goat willow; 6–10 °C in silver birch). Pearson correlation coefficients between NAO index and GDD were negative in lime tree at all thresholds (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 °C), while goat willow and silver birch were not so uniform (both positive and negative values). Correlation coefficients between phenophase onset and soil temperature (10 cm depth) had the highest values in silver birch, European larch and wood anemone. Stations situated at higher elevation showed negative correlation coefficient with soil temperature in common snowdrop, pedunculate oak, meadow foxtail and lime tree; other values were positive.


NAO Allergology Czech Republic Onset of flowering Climate change GDD Soil temperature 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of CR within the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I), Grant Number LO1415 and by the National Agency for Agricultural Research “Crop modelling as a tool for increasing the production potential and food security of the Czech Republic under Climate Change”(QJ1310123).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biometeorological ApplicationsCzech Hydrometeorological InstitutePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute of Vertebrate Biology, v.v.i.Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Agroecology and Biometeorology, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life SciencesPragueCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Agrosystems and Bioclimatology, Faculty of AgriSciencesMendel UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Global Change Research Institute AS CRBrnoCzech Republic

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