Plants play a key role in maintaining the health and sustainability of our Earth. Plants capture carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. In this way, healthy plants mitigate to some extent global warming. No one is more aware of how crucial plant life is than the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden conducts research throughout the globe, monitoring the effects of global warming on the distribution of plants, conserving plant species and helping people restore degraded ecologies.
But the Missouri Botanical Garden still keeps a very watchful eye out for what is happening in Missouri and in the Midwest. According to the Garden, “[l]ocally, in less than two decades, we have seen the USDA hardiness zones of Missouri (and most of the country) bumped up an entire category, meaning that we can now grow plants requiring warmer weather and can no longer grow plants requiring cooler temperatures.” In addition, “leaf flush, flowering and fruiting are becoming earlier, while leaf fall is later.”