A Taraxacum teaser

It’s spring and the dandelions are happy to see you!  I’ve taken photos of two groups of dandelions just footsteps away from one another. The populations are both in full sun, with similar types of soil and water availability. You’ll note that one group has very short flower stalks, while the second has longer stalks:

So what’s responsible for the difference in flower stalk length?  And for extra credit, what’s the scientific term for the phenomenon?

If this isn’t something you’ve noticed before, you will from now on!  Answers Monday!

3 thoughts on “A Taraxacum teaser”

  1. My best guess is that humans using a lawn mower are responsible for the difference in flower stalk length. Dandelions are great in adapting to growing/environmetal conditions. The plants where the lawn is frequently mowed response with growing shorter stems to ensure reproduction success. I don’t know the scientific term for this phenomenon, perhaps we could call it adaptive phenotypic plasticity?

  2. I think I remember this from HS AP Biology and it was a trick question from our teacher although it was a bean plant in our study – I say phototropism.

    The ones in the longer grass are being shaded out a bit and adapting to their situation by growing longer stems on one side and bending.

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