Ah, Christmas time! I went walking through my neighborhood and was charmed by the strings of lights illuminating porches, the inflated Santa, the plastic reindeer, the snow and ice. But then I saw flowers emerging from the ground, near a cherry tree in full bloom.
It made me confused. Why are flowers blooming in December in Baltimore? The wildflowers called snowdrops normally emerge from the ground in February or March. And most cherry trees, of course, bloom in March or April; although a few do flower in the fall.
“It definitely seems odd this year,” said Theresa Crimmins, a plant ecologist at the University of Arizona and Director of the National Phenology Network, which studies which seasons plants bloom in across the U.S.
“All across the country, people have reported things flowering this fall – this past October and November, specifically – that they never reported in the past flowering in October and November,” she said. "Things like chokecherries and mountain magnolia were in flower this past fall in North Carolina, which is not normal. On Long Island, people reported clematis and false lily of the valley flowering in the fall, and those are definitely springtime species."