Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fluff monsters

Dandelions are stubborn. And sneaky.

My patch of "lawn" here in Campbell River is about one third grass, half hawkweed, and the rest dandelions. I'm working on digging out the hawkweed, mowing the grass, and cutting down the dandelions as they appear. But the dandelions cheat.

Some of the dandelion heads stand tall, waving defiance. Most of them, though, slide along the ground under the grass until they're ready to go to seed. Then they pop up, toss their fluff into the wind, and sneer at attempts to harness them.

Dandelion seeds, brought inside where they won't reach the lawn. I hope.

A cut dandelion, left lying to die, will go to seed as happily as if it were still attached to its roots. A pollinated dandelion flower cut in pieces will still make seeds. A composted dandelion will leave seeds that can still germinate years later.

Yesterday afternoon, I mowed the lawn short, then walked back and forth, digging out dandelion stalks hiding under the grass until I couldn't find any more. In the evening, when I came home, half a dozen seed heads were standing tall. I collected them, and found another handful of hidden stalks. Today, there were three handfuls of flowers ready to go to seed, all hidden under the grass.

It's discouraging.

Not only do the seeds fly everywhere, they're equipped to hold on tight once they've landed, and maybe gain a bit more distance by sticking to animal fur or feathers. Or my shoes.

The seeds are covered in hooks.

One seed, ready to fly.

Zooming in. Six long ribs on this one, each with dozens of sharp hooks. A seed may have up to 12 ribs.

This species is a somewhat prolific seed producer, with 54 to 172 seeds produced per head, and a single plant can produce more than 5,000 seeds a year. (Wikipedia)



  1. You just gotta learn to love those beautiful yellow flowers!

    1. They're beautiful, but I have to live with my neighbours.

  2. With dandelions, your war on them can only be as successful as your neighbours'.

  3. That's once plant that doesn't like my cabin garden. Probably a good thing. I hear the greens taste good though. - Margy


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