Are bluebells at risk of dying out? 

Climate change could see the end of our beautiful bluebells

Are bluebells at risk of dying out?

They're the picture-postcard image of UK springtime, but our beautiful bluebells may be wiped out by climate change, warn experts.

A new study looking at hundreds of thousands of 'citizen science' records of the changing seasons' impact on 22 species of plants and trees shows the bluebells could struggle as the climate changes.

See also: France bans plastic cutlery to fight climate change

See also: Climate change to 'increase turbulence and flight prices'

The report, carried out by the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, suggests that spring plants have an optimum time in which to flower, which gives them the best chance to grow and reproduce, but rising temperatures caused by global warming may see this time shift.

And some plants like bluebells are not flexible enough to keep up with a shift in spring, and could suffer.

The study looked at more than 200,000 records from between 1998 and 2014 from the Woodland Trust's Nature's Calendar, in which members of the public suit sighting of seasonal changes in the natural world, like first flowers and leaves.

According to BT News, first leafing and flowering for all 22 species were sensitive to warmer spring temperatures, and would come into leaf or flower around three to eight days earlier for each 1C increase.

The study, published in the Global Change Biology journal, said seven of the species may be able to keep up with climate change, but that four, bluebells, garlic mustard, sycamore and larch, may struggle.

Speaking to the Metro, Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Woodland Trust citizen science manager, said the study showed how important the Nature's Calendar records were in predicting the effects of the changing climate over time, and suggested more people take part in the scheme.

She said: "The English bluebell is an iconic woodland species so this prediction is a wake-up call for the possible effects of climate change on much loved parts of our natural world."

England's best spots to see bluebells

England's best spots to see bluebells