Signs of spring: dandelions are blossoming.
Dandelions in bloom are a sign that spring is definitely here and that summer is not far off! When did you see your first dandelion this year?
In this project every participant fills in three Report Forms. We mark the dates of following events:
- the appearance of the first dandelion
- the mass blossoming of dandelions
- the mass ripening and seeds flying stage of the dandelions
The First Dandelion.
“Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass— innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.”
By Walt Whitman
"The First Dandelion." New York Herald12 March 1888: 4. Reprinted in the "Sands at Seventy" annex to Leaves of Grass (1888).
The dandelion belongs to the family Aster (Asteraceae or Compositae); a distinctive characteristic of all the representatives of this family is their lack of a single flower. Rather, they have an inflorescence or, a “basket” of many little florets. The dandelion is even more distinct in that all its florets are ligulate (ray florets), whereas the majority of Asteraceae (camomile, aster, sunflower) have ray florets only on the edges of their inflorescence. Maybe this is the reason why the dandelion's flowers look so fluffy, similar to little suns.
The correct botanical name of this plant is The Common Dandelion (Taráxacum officinále). In traditional and herbal medicine it is used for curing different diseases. Its leaves contain many vitamins that can be used raw in salads and boiled in cooking. From its fried roots one can make a beverage which tastes similar to coffee. The dandelion's flowers are used to make jams and even wine.
The data collected in this project will allow us to make a map of this spring event and compare it with other maps in our collection of phenology projects.