I lent out my copy of a book by a similar title: Never Say It’s Just A Dandelion by Hilary Hopkins so I don’t have it in front of me to check her notes.
This field of dandelions that I saw at Viles Arboretum in Augusta during a Maine Master Naturalist field trip yesterday inspired me to take a closer look at the species that brightens our backyard.
While some green bracts turn downward to keep insects at bay, others protect the developing flower.
One ray at a time
it begins to open.
Notice how every ray is notched.
I brought one in to take a closer look at the notches. Each has five “teeth” representing a petal and forms a single floret.
Fully open, the bloom is a composite of numerous florets.
Each stigma splits in two and curls.
Bees and other insects seek the nectar.
A seed grows at the base and fine hairs form a parachute.
In time, the bloom closes up and then turns into a fluffy ball of seeds waiting for you or the wind to disperse them.
Though you may not be able to see it here, each seed is covered with tiny spikes that probably help it stick to the soil when it lands.
The yellow carpet will continue to change in our backyard
one seed at a time.
Who knew a Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal) could be something to wonder about? Emily Dickinson did:
The Dandelion’s pallid tube
Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas-
The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower,-
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er.