|Description:||Under a high magnification of 6486x, this 2006 scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted 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 breath of a curious child.|
Highlighted in this field of view was the remnant of a seed attachment, visible as a small cavitated nub. It is from these nub-like points that the "parachute"-equipped seeds detach, and are blown away, sometime over a distance of miles. Note that this is the second in a series of PHIL images, 8791-8796, in which the magnification is increased, thereby, providing greater and greater morphologic detail of the point of the developing seed attachment.
This specimen was found in the suburbs of Decatur, Georgia during the month of April. 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's from their shape that the dandelion received its name, for it resembles a "lion's tooth", hence the name derivation "dent-de-lion".