This ain’t yer daddy’s dandelion

I’m a sucker for dandelions.  I know, they’re the scourge of manicured yards everywhere, but move beyond that boring green sheet of sameness and let a splash of color here and there add some excitement to your lawn.

Close-up of a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head (20080518_05496)

When they go to seed, it’s like a galaxy full of stars.  One breath is all it takes… to ruin that yawn-inducing disaster you call a landscape.

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head (20080518_05499)

Oh, but I said this ain’t yer daddy’s dandelion.  Wanna see why?

My hand next to a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) seed head for size comparison (20080518_05501)

That’s my grimy paw to give you size comparison.  As seed heads go, this one is bigger than a baseball.  Imagine the mayhem that could cause in your tedious little St. Augustine canvas.

But what creates a seed head that large?

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04666)

Western salsify (Tragopogon dubius).  Mighty purty, ain’t it?

Close-up of a western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04677)

The flowers are like dandelions on steroids.  Huge burning stars of color that stand waist high.

A western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) flower (20080426_04709)

[all photos from White Rock Lake]

18 thoughts on “This ain’t yer daddy’s dandelion”

  1. That is some macro lens you have there, Jason. That dandelion is unbelievable. Beautiful photographs, as usual. I agree with you about dandelions – I love fields of them!

    1. Thank you, Mary! And I couldn’t agree more. The floodplains here at the lake are full of dandelions; they’re like fields of gold faces smiling heavenward.

    1. What timing, Clive. We have the regular dandelions here along with a variety of relatives like this one, so it’s always a joy to find the next new one.

    1. No new camera yet, Amber. These are from my backlog of photos. I take so many pictures that I wind up with gobs that never see the light of day. Which is useful right now.

  2. Hi. I wonder if this is Tragopogon pratensis which is very similiar. We call it Goatsbeard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon here in the UK! I’ve just looked up the difference between the two flowers: Apparently the T. dubius has longer brachts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_.... I’m no expert so I’m not sure which you found – all I know these are wonderful pictures that I’ve really enjoyed viewing!

    1. Hi, Suzanne. Thanks for visiting.

      Yes, this is definitely Tragopogon dubius. It’s the only widespread introduced species in North America that resembles this family. Tragopogon pratensis never got a foothold here compared to T. dubius, which can be found all over the continent now.

      And thank you! I’m glad you liked the photos.

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