Table of Content

Open Access iconOpen Access



Changes of the Flowering Time of Trees in Spring by Climate Change in Seoul, South Korea

Hyewon Kim1, Chanwoo Park2, Jong Hwan Lim2, Hye Woo Shin3,*

1 Interdisciplinary Program of EcoCreative, The Graduate School, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, 03760, Korea
2 Forest Ecology and Climate Change Division, National Institute of Forest Science, Seoul, 02455, Korea
3 Research Institute of Ecoscience, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, 03760, Korea

* Corresponding Author: Hye Woo Shin. Email: email

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2020, 89(4), 1019-1033.


Flowering onset has attracted much attention in ecological research as an important indicator of climate change. Generally, warmer temperatures advance flowering onset. The effect of climate warming on flowering onset is more pronounced in spring because the difference between atmospheric and water temperatures creates more rapid convection than in other seasons. We analyzed the correlation between 73 species of spring woody plants in Hongneung Arboretum in Seoul, South Korea and the spring minimum temperature and average precipitation over the past 50 years (1968–2018). The spring minimum temperature and average precipitation have increased over the past 50 years, resulting in the advance of the first flowing date (FFD) in all 73 species by 8.5 days on average. A comparison of FFD changes over time by dividing the survey period into three time periods confirmed the advance of the FFD in 50 species (68% of investigated species) by 11.1 days on average in both Period 2 (1999–2008) and Period 3 (2009–2018) relative to Period 1 (1968–1975). Additionally, a delay of the FFD by 3.2 days on average was observed in 8 species. The FFD of Lonicera chrysantha (Caprifoliaceae) advanced by over 40 days and was highly correlated with the increased spring minimum temperature. Analysis of the sensitivity of plant responses to climate change revealed that a temperature rise of 1°C was associated with an FFD advance of 1.2 days in all species. The species that was most sensitive to temperature change was Spiraea pubescens for. leiocarpa (Rosaceae), whose FFD advanced by 4.7 days per 1°C temperature rise. Each increase in precipitation by 1 mm was found to result in a 0.1-day advance of the FFD of all species. Prunus tomentosa (Rosaceae) was the most sensitive species, that advanced by 2.6 days for each 1 mm increase in precipitation. Thus, for all species, the FFD was more sensitive to the change in temperature than in precipitation. Assuming that the current greenhouse gas (GHGs) emission levels or atmospheric CO2 concentration is maintained, Seoul’s spring minimum temperature is projected to rise by 2.7°C over the next 50 years. Accordingly, considering only the global temperature change, the mean FFD of the study’s 73 species is projected to advance by an additional 3.4 days.


Cite This Article

Kim, H., Park, C., Lim, J. H., Shin, H. W. (2020). Changes of the Flowering Time of Trees in Spring by Climate Change in Seoul, South Korea. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 89(4), 1019–1033.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
  • 2300


  • 1365


  • 0


Share Link