I’m going to have to appreciate dandelions more


So that’s how they develop from flower to puffball.

I might miss them — no more dandelions for a while (oops, wait, there are a hardy few in the yard), until they completely take over the lawn and turn it bright yellow in the spring.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Biology of Dandelions

    Dandelions grow from seeds and do not spread asexually from stolons or runner; they have a single tap root. However, they can and do reproduce asexually by seed. They are capable of producing viable seed without need of cross-fertilization, a process known as “apomixis“. The resulting progeny, also capable of apomixis, are basically clones of the parent plant. Most of the seed production in Dandelions is due to this process.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    It’s not a bedraggled plot. It’s a crop. You can eat dandelions and clover. Lotsa vitamins and minerals.

  3. davidc1 says

    When I were a lad ,we thought that you could tell the time by how many puffs it took to blow all
    the seeds off .
    Also, if you picked it and got the white sap on your hands ,it would make you wee the bed .

  4. PaulBC says

    What’s not to appreciate? If anything, I think dandelions are way underrated. What’s so great about a grass lawn? And their propagation method is amazing.

  5. says

    I will never understand the American hatred of dandelion….

    It’s not a bedraggled plot. It’s a crop. You can eat dandelions and clover. Lotsa vitamins and minerals.

    Dandelion salad and fried potatoes were a spring treat back when my grandparents were still alive. Sadly, what used to be a poor people’s meal is a luxury thing for me now because I don’t have the time to pick and clean it.
    I’m also very interested in what is growing in my garden, so I look up all the plants I don’t know. The result is usually either “you got 10 free meals here” or “you die”

  6. flange says

    I’m proud, no, smug, to have the only lawn in my block with full crops of dandelions (and other broad-leafs and weeds.) Meaning, I’m the only one NOT using pesticides and fertilizer chemicals on my lawn. Mine is a multi-species lawn. People hate dandelions because Monsanto, et al tell them they should. Dandelions and “toxic” weeds are far less a threat to us than paraquat, glyphosate, polychlorinated biphenyls, etc.

  7. dorght says

    Dandelions are the prettiest feature of many a neighbor’s yard. I wish, though, that the prolific seeds would honor property lines and not attempt to push aside our flowers and grass.
    Really thinking of dramatically expanding pollinator friendly plantings next year. I hate weeding gardens though.

  8. dorght says

    @3 Reginald
    So if I read that right I could maintain a non spreading crop of pretty dandelions by diligently yanking the stems after the flower closes and not worry about them spreading? I wonder if the closed flower is cut by a lawnmower and left alone does it continue to develop and release seeds? Might need to experiment.
    I don’t remember seeing many bees around dandelions, but the Web says pollinators love dandelions. Must be selective observation on my part, or they prefer the clover flowers.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    If we could GM those green things into producing biodiesel or ethanol, people with no gardening skills could be rich.
    BTW even though they have no symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they just keep growing.
    It is almost – but not quite- enough for me to respect the things. A pity they keep out-competing grass.

  10. Dunc says

    flange, @9:

    People hate dandelions because Monsanto, et al tell them they should.

    The problem with dandelions is a bit like the problem with mice – a few aren’t really any issue, but if you start with a few you almost inevitably end up with lots and lots, and it then takes a lot of effort to get them back under control. I don’t mind dandelions as such, but I’d prefer not to have my veggie plot overrun with them, or have to spend too much of my time digging them out to stop them from overrunning my plot. And sure, you can eat them, but I generally prefer other things… Not the worst weed by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not rolling out the welcome mat.

    dorght, @12:

    So if I read that right I could maintain a non spreading crop of pretty dandelions by diligently yanking the stems after the flower closes and not worry about them spreading?

    Yes, but “diligently” here means pretty much every single day, and don’t miss any. (I always seem to miss some…)

    I wonder if the closed flower is cut by a lawnmower and left alone does it continue to develop and release seeds?

    Yes, they will. Also repeated cutting tends to encourage the plant to adopt a flat growing habit to avoid the lawnmower.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    In North America, dandelions are an “exotic invasive.” I hardly have any in my lawn, because I deliberately remove them. By hand. What’s left is not pure bluegrass, it’s a mix of all kinds of stuff. There are only a few types of weeds I deliberately target.

  12. says

    The problem with dandelions is a bit like the problem with mice – a few aren’t really any issue, but if you start with a few you almost inevitably end up with lots and lots, and it then takes a lot of effort to get them back under control.

    ???
    My nemesis are cats tail. Dandelion are rare in the vegetable garden, or even on the “weeds” side of the garden. There’s a fair amount in the “lawn” come spring, but a biodiverse environment is all that you need to keep them in check.

  13. Dunc says

    Weed prevalance varies enormously depending on local conditions.

    Not sure what you mean by “cats tail”… Possibly equisetum arvense? In which case, yes, that’s my worst too – closely followed by couch grass (elymus repens). Dandelions probably don’t even make my top 5 of problematic weeds. As I said, “Not the worst weed by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not rolling out the welcome mat.”

  14. Jazzlet says

    Dandelions and dock both help with drainage in heavy clay soil because they will go down into the thickest clay. We have a clay pan under varying depths of soil and, as long as they aren’t in the vegetable beds or flower & herb pots, leave both in place as they make such a significant difference.

  15. davidc1 says

    @17 Wrote .
    “Yes, they will. Also repeated cutting tends to encourage the plant to adopt a flat growing habit to avoid the lawnmower”.
    Sneaky bastards .
    Has Coltsfoots made it to America Yet ? Another yellow flower from the same family?

  16. PaulBC says

    davidc1@24 Sort of OT but the invasive plant I remember people volunteering to clear from open space parks in the SF Bay Area is French Broom (do the French call it English Broom?). It also has yellow flowers but they are nothing like dandelions, or like brooms in my opinion.

  17. blf says

    PaulBC@25, “Do the French call [French Broom] English Broom?”

    (giggles) Sadly, no. Genista monspessulana is native to the Mediterranean area, and apparently is called Genêt de Montpellier, which is presumably the reason it’s also known as “Montpellier broom”. It certainly looks familiar (I live in S.France on the Mediterranean coast, and used to live in Montpellier). Obviously not an invasive species here, but I have no idea how much of a problem it is (locally), nor how / what controls it locally.

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