Rokkor-X 100mm short-mount, auto bellows; f/22 @ 1/60 sec; rotating single-source flash; Kodachrome II, ASA 25; Nikon Supercoolscan 5000
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) are a family of flowering plants that grow in many parts of the world. You may be most familiar with dandelion as a stubborn weed that never seems to leave your lawn or garden. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant. The flower heads mature into spherical seed heads sometimes called blowballs. As wind-dispersed species, the seeds are able to cover large distances when dispersed due to the unique morphology of the pappus which works to create a unique type of vortex ring that stays attached to the seed rather than being sent downstream. In addition to the creation of this vortex ring, the pappus can adjust its morphology depending on the moisture in the air. This allows the plume of seeds to close up and reduce the chance to separate from the stem, waiting for optimal conditions that will maximize dispersal and germination.