Under a moderate magnification of 405x, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts details of the morphologic surface characteristics of a "dandelion clock", from a Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale plant. The "clock" is the filamentous "puffball" of seeds arranged so as to be easily dispersed by the wind, or the breadth of a curious child. In this field of view the remnants of a seed attachment is visible as a small nub protruding from a small papule. It is from these nub-like points that the "parachute"-equipped seeds detach, and are blown away, sometime over a distance of miles. developing seed attachment. Also named "Blowball", "Cankerwort", Lion's Tooth", and "Wild Endive", the dandelion though bitter, is an edible plant, and can be used as a salad green, steeped as a tea, and provides many medicinal uses as well, including appetite loss, indigestion, kidney stones, liver and gallbladder ailments, and urinary tract infections. The dandelion's root system is fortified by a deep tap root, from which a new plant can regrow, which makes it very difficult to rid from the garden if all of the root system is not removed. The leaves are long and very jagged, and it is from their shape that the dandelion received its name, for it resembles a "lion's tooth", hence the name derivation "dent-de-lion".
May 30th, 2013
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