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Dandelion seed heads

Dandelion seed heads

C035/9312

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Credit

MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Theoretically one dandelion head (Taraxacum officinale) could have produced all these plants. Seed production varies from 54 to 172 seeds per head and a single plant can produce more than 2000 seeds. The part colloquially called the seed is a dried fruit, the achene, enclosing a single seed. To the achenes is attached a parachute, pappus, of fine filaments that lifts the seed away in a breeze and distributes it some distance - sometimes miles - from its parent. The achene body is covered in barbs so that it may have a further opportunity to disperse further attached to fur or feather. It is one of the reasons that the dandelion is such a successful plant. UK.

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