Dandelions! If you’ve taken part in #NoMowMay you’re likely going to see lots of these bright yellow flowers in your lawn right now, so we thought we’d highlight this often overlooked species.
Dandelions are part of the Asteraceae family which includes daisies and sunflowers. While the head of a dandelion appears as a cluster of yellow petals, each petal is in fact a tiny flower in itself, called a floret! Once they’ve been in flower for a few days, dandelions will close and produce seeds which together appear as a translucent white sphere. Each seed is attached to its own fluffy ‘parachute’, allowing them to be dispersed by the wind.
Dandelions are extremely hardy and can grow almost anywhere – they can be found in every part of the world except Antarctica. Their roots can grow over 10 foot, absorbing nutrients from deep below and making them available to other plants in doing so. These root systems aerate the soil, keeping it healthy, and can help to prevent erosion too.
What’s more, dandelions are an excellent source of food for bees, butterflies and other wildlife. From the 21st-30th May, Plantlife is asking for participants to take part in there “Every Flower Counts” survey. By counting the number of flowers in a patch of lawn they can tell you how many bees they’ll feed! Link for more info: https://nomowmay.plantlife.org.uk/every-flower-counts/