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Ecologists believe flowers can help track global warming

by webdev

September 22, 2010

Scientists in England suggest that flowers can help in the study of climate change.

According to Reuters, ecologists in the UK compared spider orchids that were plucked up to 150 years ago to the same flowers that blossomed from 1976-2006, and they found that, in both eras, warmer years were linked to earlier flowering.

The older samples of spider orchids were collected between 1848-1958 and then marked with notes showing the exact day in which they were picked. The study revealed that spider orchids flowered about six days earlier for every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) rise in average temperatures.

"It potentially opens up new uses for ... specimens — this could provide us with long-term data about climate," Anthony Davy, a professor at the University of East Anglia who was a co-author of the study, told the news provider.

The news source reports there are collections of plants, some dating back over two hundred years, around the world. The researchers believe that monitoring plants' flowering dates can track global warming trends by comparing the average spring temperatures, even if records of the conditions were not kept in previous centuries.

Spider orchids make an excellent addition to an orchid bouquet, as they emit a strong, pleasant scent when in full bloom, according to Orchids-Plus-More.com.

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