European consumers have been plunged into crisis by a vegetable shortage caused by severe weather.

Shops across Europe - and particularly in the UK - have seen the shelves stripped of green produce like lettuce, broccoli and spinach.

Courgettes (zucchinis, if you're American), aubergines (eggplant) and peppers have also been badly affected.

The problems stem from a blast of cold weather which has overtaken large parts of southern Europe.

These areas are usually able to grow vegetables even through the cold season, but snow and floods have stopped supplies in their tracks.

Murcia, a region of Spain, usually does roaring trade throughout winter. But heavy rain means only a third of its fields can be used for agriculture, forcing yields down and sending prices through the roof.

According to the BBC, the UK exports 50% of all its vegetables and 90% of its fruit, leaving the supply chain particularly vulnerable to unexpected events overseas.

Importers have said that they are facing the prospect of paying more than triple the usual price for now-rare commodities, while some stores have started rationing sales to stop customers bulk-buying.