Dandelions

Jan 31, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. On my walks with friend Ann Nolte we’ve been examining dandelions, not much else is in flower right now. On warm days, we bend over and stare at those yellow blooms to see if there are any insect visitors. So far, we’ve seen small dipterans – that sounds more exciting than the common name of flies, doesn’t it? Our ubiquitous dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a Eurasian species that has spread almost all over the globe. Unlike some other dandelions, this one can reproduce apomictically, without pollination, but it produces nectar and pollen and studies show that in addition to the flies, butterflies and bees feed on the flowers as well. Each yellow bloom is actually a compilation of several hundred individual ray flowers, each of which then generates a seed with an attached structure, a pappus, that catches the wind and disperses it.