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Spherical Blowball

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Describe a spherical blowball, which is a dandelion seed head and explain how the seeds are dispersed.

A spherical blowball is the seed head of a dandelion, which blooms as a bright yellow flower, but then matures into a fluffy white sphere made up of numerous tiny seeds, each attached to a parachute-like structure called a pappus. The blowball usually measures about 1-2 inches in diameter and is composed of hundreds of these tiny seed units, giving it a delicate and airy appearance.

Despite its lightweight, the blowball is an incredibly effective seed disperser. When the wind blows, the seeds are easily detached, carrying away the tiny parachute-bearing seeds on the breeze. This mechanism exploited by the dandelion is referred to as wind dispersal and can carry the seeds a considerable distance, allowing dandelions to spread rapidly across a wide geographic area.

In addition, the alluring puffballs can also inspire human interaction. Often people will pick up a dandelion blowball and blow on it, causing the seeds to float away and assisting them in their dispersal. This intentional or unintentional interaction plays into the plant’s strategy for seed dispersal and propagation. In summary, the spherical blowball of a dandelion is an efficient, wind-driven propagation tool, leading to the widespread diffusion of dandelions in our environment.


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Last updated:

9th January 2024