Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A DANDELINEAL FEAST

One of the oddities of Blogger is that while I am free to edit a post after it's published you can't change your comments - which offers wonderful possibilities for practical jokes. If I were to write a post about butterflies and swap it later for one about elephants incongruities would creep in.

'I love the way they flit from flower to flower.'
'I like to see them chase each other round my garden.'
'Because more attention is being paid to parks nowadays, we are beginning to see them in our major cities. The other day I watched several fly past St Paul's while I waited for my bus.'
'I attract them with nettles and docks.

Flowering dandelion and small nettle.
I wouldn't play that trick (despite the tantalising temptation) but . . . I do plan to add to this post and to change some of the pictures if I take ones I like better. Dandelions can look cheerful or garish. When put alongside the seed version of themselves they tend to the latter. So I may swap them. I've also been meaning to take close-ups of seeds but haven't had time. I'll add them in when I have them.

Dandelion leaf.
It's a bit of a long post, this. I was originally intending it to be divided into three - but because it's quite interesting to see something of the life cycle of a plant I'll go with that. This means I intend, sometime, to put in a picture at the beginning to show what its seedlings look like.

For people in places where there are dandelions - I hope it will be a celebration of an often unpopular flowers. For those unfamiliar with dandelions . . . it may be worth explaining why they are resisted where they are common; they spread easily and, once a plant is established, it's difficult to dig it out. Funny how the virtue of resilience can be counted a fault.

I love them.



Dandelion flowers close to.
May 13th 2013

After the flower.
The petals wither. Each seed will have a white parachute. This begins to show.
Remains of petals at the top, seeds upright in the middle, frill of white parachutes.
Gradually the seed head opens - like an umbrella that reaches full circle.
Dandelion 'clock' from the side showing it's beautiful and regular shape.
Sideways on.
Looking up into a dandelion 'clock' against the light.
From below.
The seeds are almost all blown away. A few left but the pad they have been fixed in largely revealed.
The seeds pull away from the plant and are scattered by the wind.
Close up of where the dandelion seeds were fixed before they blew away - a curved white pad with indentations.
You can see here where the seeds were held in place till ready to fly.
(I've post-edited this picture to  heighten the contrasts and sharpen the image.)

For those unfamiliar with UK traditions . . . when the fluffy seeds are ripe but still attached, you pick a stem and blow. The 'time' is however many puffs it takes for them all to fly away. This is why the seedheads of dandelions are called 'dandelion clocks'.

12 comments:

ADRIAN said...

A very entertaining post.
I had never thought of swapping content. I just hope I can emulate your restraint.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hi Adrian - I'm surprised people don't do this . . . or maybe they do, we simply don't go back to the posts we've commented on to check!

Mark Willis said...

I loved your pictures of the elephants! :)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Mark. Perhaps I should now consider changing the dandelions to ballet dancers?

sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

I like your photos. Very beautiful!!

flightplot said...

I can edit all comments on my Wordpress blogs.
I like dandelions so I enjoyed this post, and that last photo is fascinating.
Flighty xx

Hollis said...

I love dandelions too, and have no issues with them in my yard. Thanks for the nice pix!

Gardens at Waters East said...

The first part of your posting today was really funny. I much enjoyed it. As far as dandelions, they are a problem for me. I try and try to control them, to no avail. I know they are an indication of the quality of the soil, but I still want them gone. Jack

Paula Sealey said...

Isn't it funny how we class certain plants as weeds, when they are just as pretty in flower as those we revere. Lovely dandelion photos :-)

Donna said...

We blew on the seed heads too....we also eat the greens as a salad, but to avoid bitter greens you have to harvest them before the flowers start to grow...missed hundreds of them this year but I will have a chance again I am sure.

Diana Studer said...

I've read about dandelion jelly, and jam, and wine. We eat the leaves in salad. Much cherished wildflowers!

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful photos plus interesting information equals a great post!
thanks...