Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 09:30

The heady scent of spring is already in the air at the Eden Project as flowers burst into bloom weeks early.

Gardeners at the home of the famous Biomes say they've never known so much early botanical activity due to the extraordinarily mild winter so far.

Stars of the show are the heavily-scented Nepalese Paper Plant (Daphne bholua), a shrub covered in small pink flowers known for their sweet aroma.

Gordon Seabright, Managing Director of the Eden Project, said: “Nepalese Paper Plants are absolutely beautiful with a really fragrant smell but it's very unusual to see them flowering this early.

“Usually we expect to see them as a colourful early indicator of the end of winter and the start of spring but they are adding a splash of welcome colour to this exceptionally warm winter.”

As its name suggests, the Nepalese Paper Plant is native to the Himalayas and nearby mountain ranges, being found in Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern China.

It is sometimes used in traditional Nepalese paper-making, hence its common name.

The plant enjoys moist, sheltered conditions and has therefore thrived at Eden this winter.

Other examples of early flowering at the Eden Project include crocuses, the spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum), the long yellow daylily (Hemerocallis citrina) and various varieties of daffodil.