Effects of urbanization on plant flowering phenology: A review

Kaesha Neil, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Studies of flowering and leafing phenology have dramatically increased during the last few decades because changes in plant phenology can be indicative of possible effects of climate change at multiple scales. This article reviews the available literature focusing on the effects of urbanization on flowering phenology. The literature of flowering phenology in urban environments suggests that spring-blooming plants in a variety of ecosystems in North America, Europe, and China tend to bloom earlier in the city than in the surrounding un-urbanized habitat. Moreover, ephemerals, early spring bloomers, and insect-pollinated plants in these environments tend to be more sensitive than perennials, mid- or late-spring bloomers, and wind-pollinated plants. Researchers attribute advanced flowering in urban environments to the Heat Island Effect. The potential ecological consequences of changes in flowering phenology in urbanized areas are not well understood or explicitly studied. However, studies in global biology have suggested that climate change may result in a series of important ecological consequences as well as human-related problems such as earlier and extended allergy seasons. More field-based studies are needed to elucidate this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Ecosystem structure
  • Flowering phenology
  • Urban ecology
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


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