Friday, 23 March 2007

An early dandelion (Taraxacum pseudohamatum)

Yesterday, 22 March, the flower above opened on a plant of Taraxacum pseudohamatum growing in our garden in Sedlescombe, East Sussex.

Last year the first flower on this particular plant did not open until 14 April, so it is running 23 days earlier than in 2006. There are all sorts of reasons why this might be the case and I somehow doubt that it has anything to do with long-term climate change. Maybe, for example, it was responding to conditions last autumn, maybe dandelions flower earlier as the plants get older, maybe it has, or has not, been suffering from the attentions of some predator above or below ground.

Taraxacologists might like to note that I have identified this dandelion microspecies using the BSBI's Handbook The Dandelions of Great Britain and Ireland by Dudman and Richards (2000 edition). Hours of endless fun there.

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