A Comparison of Dispersal Traits in Dandelions Growing in Urban Landscape and Open Meadows
- H. Arathi
The highly fragmented nature of habitats for plant growth in the urban landscape offers unique challenges to these plants and some weedy species have been particularly successful in exploiting these urban habitats. The common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is one such highly successful weed that grows profusely in both urban landscapes and open meadows. In this study, the growth, flowering intensity and achene and seed morphology of urban and meadow dandelions were compared. Achenes from urban plants showed higher germination and flowering success, producing significantly higher number of flowers. Achene morphology differed significantly between the two populations such that urban achenes have longer pappus beaks than their meadow counter parts. Urban achenes also dropped quickly to the ground limiting their dispersal capacity from the maternal plant. Morphological traits of urban dandelion achenes are likely to allow for enhanced survival under variable environments in the urban landscapes. Dandelions have been shown to be highly successful and especially capable of adjusting to different environmental pressures which may be the key to their success in colonizing diverse habitats all across the world including urban environments that constantly undergo modification.
- Joan LeeEditorial Assistant