If you read our article on Monday you will have started to find out a bit more about the Dandelion. Did you look at the Dandelions in the morning and later in the day? Did you notice The Dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
Today we are going to do a little investigation into the life cycle of a Dandelion and how it disperses it’s seeds.
Can you draw or use glue and a collection of Dandelions to display the life cycle of a Dandelion from seed to flower?
Did you know that the Dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, the moon and the stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
Seed dispersal experiment
Many plants and trees differ in how they produce seeds to ensure their species survival. Have you ever blown on a Dandelion head and watched the seeds float away? This is wind dispersal. Seeds from plants like Dandelions, have light and feathery bristles that act like a parachute and can be carried long distances by the wind. When the Dandelion flower head has seeded it is often reffered to as the 'clock'.
How far can the seed travel? is up for debate between scientists. Let’s find out how far your seed can travel. For this experiment we need to keep some parameters the same so we are going to do the experiment inside with no windows or doors open. Lay out a bed sheet or large piece of paper on the floor then stand at the end of the paper and give a quick gentle blow on your Dandelion clock. Wait until the last seed floats to the ground and measure how far the furthest seed went? How far did your seed travel? Imagine now if you were outside and the seed could be carried on the wind. I wonder how far it would go and how could you measure one tiny seed outside?
The Dandelion clock, the fluffy ball, scientific name is the capitulum and the little individual seed that blows of the capitulum is called the cypsela, and the calyx tissue which is the fluffy parachute part that takes the cypsela on its journey.
Dandelions and Dandelion clocks are associated with many poems, stories and art work. Here are a number of other ideas you may want to try.
Write or learn an acrostic poem, in which the first letter of each line spells out the word Dandelion, just like the one below from The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane.
Draw, paint or sketch the Dandelion clock.
There are many more Dandelion activities on our social media pages and blog this week so do have a look if you enjoyed today's experiment. You could even make some Dandelion biscuits to enjoy whilst you work!