Wednesday, May 25, 2011

festival of dandelion failure to launch

And now we continue with our studies of dandelions. What I want to capture next is the moment when they turn into puffballs. On today’s mail run, I came across what look like a series of botched openings. I simply can’t decide how to cull these, so I’m just gonna post a whole bunch of ‘em in an order that I think explains how these things happen…
See all the matted clumpy stuff at the top? I believe those are the tips of the yellow petals and/or sepals that didn’t quite…fall off? dry up in time? You can see the seeds themselves – the brown corn-on-the-cob thingies at the bottom – are fully formed, with the silky filaments coming out of them – but the starburst parachute that should be at the tip of each on of those is trapped and tangled up at the top, under the matted stuff that should have somehow Gone Away by now. From here on in, I’m going to refer to that part as the “remnant”. (And do you see the little yellow bug? Top right, sitting on the top of a sepal.)
Doesn’t it seem like this one would be more open if it weren’t clenched at the top by the remnant?
Here’s one that managed to open up almost completely despite the remnant.
Ditto. Oh, and do you see the yellow blob nestled on the top of the seeds?
Another little yellow bug.
And now we enter the realm of the just plain weird. Dangling seeds. “Help! Help!”
After you’ve admired the carnage, do you see the yellow bug on this one? At the far left?
Maybe my favorite one – those seeds are DETERMINED to get airborne, even though they’re all handcuffed to the remnant.
I never knew dandelions could be so interesting.
Also, we have a pop quiz today. Q: How many mice can Maggie eat without puking them up whole on the dining room floor? Hint: "Four" is too high a number. Kevin scooped them up and I wiped away the … I’m sorry, did I lose you here? It’s not all rainbows and ponies, folks!

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