Debunking an April Proverb

The familiar proverb “April Showers Bring May Flowers” probably originated from the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales:

“Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote.”

Another version is traced to the 1557 collection of writings by Thomas Tusser, A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry. He wrote:

“Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers”

Tusser’s rhyme is a couplet, which fits nicely with our thoughts about poetry in National Poetry Month.

But, if you’re like me, you might wonder if April rains truly bring May flowers.

I checked.

Botany and biology research says there is no connection. Instead, flowers’ first appearance relates more to temperature than to rain.

That being true, perhaps, the couplet should be re-written to read

“Warm temperatures in March bring April flowers.”

Doesn’t have the same poetic ring, does it?

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