Golden wonders of nature, dandelions bring a splash of sunshine to playgrounds, parks, streets and gardens from March to September. Important for insects, wishing clocks for children and growing on our doorstep, they offer fantastic opportunities to observe change over time, explore pollination or simply enjoy their natural wonder. From the unopened dandelion flower, to the clock and seed dispersal, how the flower changes can be observed over a relatively short period – Dandelion time is perfect to study in school or at home.
Find a dandelion and photograph, draw or watch it change through a morning or a week. Unless you can start early, it is best to find an unopened flower in the shade, which may start opening after 9am. The flower will open for a couple of days and then once pollinated stay closed for a few more days – during which an amazing transformation happens. You could try photographing from different angles or adding a neutral background such as coloured paper.
What happens to the flower at night? What do you think makes its open in the morning?
Dandelion Time – how long does the flower take to open and then change from flower to clock?
Can you see any bees, butterflies or other pollinators visiting the flowers? If so, which ones can you see?
When the Dandelion seeds are ready, how do they disperse? Can you show how the seeds travel?
Dandelions get their name from the French ‘Dent-de-lion’, meaning lion’s teeth – which describes the shape of their leaves. Can you make-up another name that describes them?
Humans have eaten dandelions for thousands of years and used them as a colour dye. Do any other animals eat them?