January Dandelions

by Carl Strang

This has been a strange winter, warmer than in recent years and practically snow free. Still, I was a bit surprised to see this on the Mayslake grounds on January 5:

This dandelion appears to have newly produced seeds, as well as a recently closed flower.

The skeptic in me hesitated to buy what I seemed to be seeing. Then, on the next day, I saw this:

A freshly open dandelion bloom at mid-day on Friday, January 6.

There’s no denying that this has to be one of the strangest winters of my experience.

The observation opened a little speculative door. Here is a European species, producing flowers when our native plants still are sensibly dormant. Such an ability makes me wonder whether dandelions specifically coevolved with the equally Old-World honeybees, which can remain active and will venture forth from the hive on warm mid-winter days.



  1. January 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Your eyes are not deceiving you. Walking in Fermi just a week ago we saw freshly blooming dandelions too. Like your picture, the ones we saw were low down and nestled in the (still) green grass. We’ve also seen trees budding already too. No idea if this is a fluke year or a sign of things to come (climate change, etc.).

  2. January 27, 2012 at 6:49 am

    […] seems to be some impatience in the Eurasian component of our flora. Earlier I documented dandelions blooming in the first week of January. Yesterday I ran across this bit of green at Mayslake Forest Preserve. […]

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