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The Dandelion of course! This image is of a field of common Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) photographed on a warm June day along Interstate 70 near Aspen, Colorado. The original photograph was made with a 6x6 cm Mamiya twin lens camera on High Speed Ektachrome, the transparency was digitized for publication.
Meaning "Lion's Tooth" or "Dent-de-lion" in French, common herbaceous dandelions are perennial, living more than two years and having long, deeply toothed, lance-shaped leaves.
The leaves grow in a basal rosette shape, ranging from three to twelve inches long and up to two and one-half inches wide.
Each rosette is an immature, tightly wrapped leaf base appearing just above the top of the root forming a tight "crown on the ground." The freshly emerged leaves showing are at their prime and when mature, the plant sports the well-known yellow composite flowers everybody sees now and again.
Individually growing on hollow stalks two to eighteen inches tall, the flower head has hundreds of tiny ray flowers forming a white, fuzzy ball. After changing into the familiar, white, globular seed head, the yellow head disappears and the seeds are ready to spread. Each seed has a tiny parachute, allowing it to float far and wide in the wind.
Each thick, brittle, branching taproot grows up to ten inches long. Anyone who has ever tried to pull up a dandelion, knows all there is to know about the tenacity of the plant. All parts of this plant exude a white milky sap when broken.
Dandelions like "disturbed habitats," including lawns and sunny, open places. Introduced into the Midwest from Europe to provide food for the imported honeybees in early spring, they now grow virtually worldwide. They spread further, are more difficult to exterminate, and grow under more under adverse circumstances than most of their competitors. Gardeners detest them, because the more they are pulled up, the faster they grow.
The oil processes were applied after the original photograph was digitized.
Photograph copyright Jon Burch Photography
December 13th, 2012
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