Never Call It Just A Dandelion

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.

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field

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.

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While some green bracts turn downward to keep insects at bay, others protect the developing flower.

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One ray at a time

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it begins to open.

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Notice how every ray is notched.

teeth

I brought one in to take a closer look at the notches. Each has five “teeth” representing a petal and forms a single floret.

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Fully open, the bloom is a composite of numerous florets.

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Each stigma splits in two and curls.

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Bees and other insects seek the nectar.

seed

A seed grows at the base and fine hairs form a parachute.

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In time, the bloom closes up and then turns into a fluffy ball of seeds waiting for you or the wind to disperse them.

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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.

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The yellow carpet will continue to change in our backyard

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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.

Emily Dickinson

2 thoughts on “Never Call It Just A Dandelion

  1. I remember, as a kid, putting a dandelion blossom underneath chins of friends: If the yellow was reflected, then they “liked butter!” Leigh, you bring back many memories for me……

    Faith sent from my Ipad

    >

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