Plants out of sync with friends and enemies
Every year as spring advances, a complex dance unfolds. Trees burst into bud as frosts subside and hungry caterpillars hatch to feed on soft juicy new leaves. Bees and butterflies emerge to pollinate flowers. These species are in sync with each other by relying on environmental cues. As temperatures warm, plants flower and trees burst into bud earlier and a mismatch between interdependent species may occur. The sex lives of plants may become bleak due to the loss of a specialised pollinator as in the case of the Early Spider orchid. Larix decidua, on the other hand, is benefitting from a mismatch with the emergence of its nemesis, the Larch Bud Moth. Large historical outbreaks of the caterpillar have not recurred as the climate has started warming, and new leaves emerging earlier, are escaping their attentions. Great for the plant, but perhaps not so great for the birds who depend on the caterpillar for food.