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5/21/2005
Do You Have Dandelions in Your Portfolio? by John Lamberg

With spring comes dandelions. One thing I noticed is that if you pick the flower and discard it, it will still go to seed. It is also a tough plant to kill by hand weeding as you must remove the entire taproot or the plant will come roaring back. Now, how to make my portfolio more like a dandelion?

"...Some dandelions are apomictic and polyploidy is common. Some varieties drop the "parachute" (called a pappus, modified sepals) from the achenes. Ergo, there are "species" (apomictic and polyploid races) that grow only in a single meadow. This is one reason for there being a large number of described dandelion species, especially in Europe where botanists tend to be "splitters". As an example, some botanists list a few hundred species of dandelion from Finland alone. Others are inclined to "lump" these all into Taraxacum officinale.."

...Finally, some plants have developed a way to produce seeds without their flowers being fertilized. In apomixis, an embryo is created from a diploid cell in the ovule. Then the ovules mature into seeds. The dandelion is one plant that uses this form of vegetative reproduction.