Devious dandelions

As Austrian reader Johannes explained, the difference in dandelion flower height is due to herbivory – in this case from a lawnmower.  Dandelions are quite adaptable to variable environments (the phenotypic plasticity Johannes also mentioned) and flower heights will increase or decrease depending on these variables. This ensures that the flowers will be accessible to pollinators, yet not decapitated by lawnmowers.  It’s just one of the fascinating traits that make weeds successful!

 

2 thoughts on “Devious dandelions”

  1. I’ve also noticed this phenomenon with common yarrow, even more impressive as these plants usually grow much higher than dandelions.

  2. Yet another quiz that teaches something remarkable! Now I know why it’s easier to get more dandelion green biomass from an unmowed meadow plant than from a plant I’ve dug out of our lawn.

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