Tooth of the lion

I spent the morning in maintenance mode which means I rode the mower for most of it. We finished shearing yesterday, so I also spent some time cleaning and oiling the clippers to be sure they were in good order next year. As I transitioned to afternoon chores I noticed that some of the Poppies in Joanna’s garden had opened and that a large number were about to follow suit. As I photographed some of these I noticed a number of interlopers. Dandilions. Although the presence of this weed frustrates me, for it disrupts the otherwise uniform green of the lawns that surround the house and barns, I have always thought it quite beautiful when in seed. As I prepared this post I realized that I didn’t know anything about the origin or meaning of the common name (the Latin genus is Taraxacum). I looked about and discovered that the word dandelion is generally thought to be derived from the French dent de lion, lion’s tooth, and refers to the jagged shape of the leaf. If you look at the images below you will see that each differs in the precise position of the plane of focus. It is placed away-from-center and on the delicate plumes in the first, and toward-the-center and on the seeds themselves in the second. I could not decide which I liked better, so posted the pair. Click either image to scroll between somewhat larger renditions. Which do you like?

21 thoughts on “Tooth of the lion

  1. The ones in my garden have undergone an interesting mutation. They have somehow developed the ability to duck down out of the way of the lawnmower blades. Pretty neat trick, eh? I fully expect that sooner or later the Curiosity Mars rover will discover the things flourishing on the red planet as well. It wouldn’t surprise me to find they’re what gives the sun its yellowish colour too.
    As for choosing, I did look again and found myself unable to pick one over the other. They’re both beautiful as long as they stay in PA 😇

    1. It seems the season for the things is pretty short here in PA … they flower for about a week and then set seed … then I can mow ’em down and won’t see them again until next year. Come on though … admit that they are kinda pretty … D

  2. I agree with you that it’s very hard to choose … so I’ll have both please. The first makes me think of the moon and all her textured craters … while the second perfectly illustrates the star burst of seed out from the central core. I hope all your decisions are settled and peaceful … any news on the job you interviewed for?

    1. Thanks for both comments this evening Seonaid … always much appreciated to know that you take the time to consider what I’ve said and then tell me about it. Regarding the job, I never did interview, simply applied … and never heard back. I’m beginning to think I’m too old (53) and experienced (32 years) for the sort of part-time, temporary, or adjunct positions I’m looking for. I like to think that colleges and universities assume I’ll be needing top-dollar compensation for my work … which isn’t true. I’d be willing to work for what a newly minted PhD would receive. But these places don’t care to ask. Anyway … it’s been pretty disappointing. I think what’s gonna happen is that I’m eventually gonna simply retire … really, really, really, really, really, early … and just do something else. What that ‘something’ may be is still a mystery. Thanks for asking. D

  3. They’re both beautiful – all the more so for being in black and white. I always think it’s a shame that Dandelions get such a bad press: ok, they are weeds, but they give a pretty splash of yellow to our gardens and the seed pods on the wind are magical – we were always told they were fairies when we were children 🙂

    1. Yes … fairies … I like it. I did not intent to denigrate for I too believe them to be beautiful … especially when they are in seed. Thanks for the words of approbation. D

  4. In German they are also called “Löwenzahn” – lion’s tooth.

    I like the right image a bit more as the sharp center and sharp ‘roots’ make it more dynamic – as it is going to explode in a second and these ‘roots’ are the arrows that help visualize the explosion (as in comics).

  5. I had no idea of the origins of the word, but that is really fascinating. I always assumed it was something to do with the yellow blooms, but the French explanation makes more sense. I like the one on the right because you can see where the seeds attach, but the outer plumes still seem to be in focus. Very lovely!

  6. If you’re willing to go to a bit of trouble and mount a dandelion seed head so that it doesn’t move, you can put your camera on a tripod and take several pictures of the seed head, each focused in a different plane. What’s known as focus-stacking software can then combine the images into a single one in which all the parts are sharp.

    Like just about every American growing up in a suburb, I knew dandelions from our front lawn on Long Island. Only decades and half the width of a continent later, when I became interested in native plants in Texas, did I learn that dandelions are invaders from Europe. In Austin we have a native relative called silverpuff, whose seed heads look a lot like those of dandelions:

    1. Wow! Thanks (is it) Sue! Glad to see your comment! I checked out Travel Tales of Life and really liked the Philosophy statement … especially the line about not letting the phrase ‘What would people think,’ get in the way. There are some decisions facing Joanna and me right now to which that attitude can apply. Thanks. And … also … congratulations on the Marathon-thing … I’ve been running ‘forever,’ have always wanted to run one and have never had enough courage … I always appreciate hearing about folks who do! D

      1. Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. I always say that if I had not done all the things in life people told me I was crazy to do, so many amazing experiences would have been missed. That would include the marathon. Who starts training for that at age 50 especially when they don’t even like running? 🙂 One of the hardest and most euphoric experiences of my life. I would encourage you to consider it if your health allows. I was very slow but of course that wasn’t the point for me.
        I wish you both the very best. I grew up on a farm and really chuckled at your description of the addition of animals. Yes one thing leads to another 🙂

  7. This is quite an appropriate post as I JUST pulled about 100 dandelions from my lawn and Sarah’s!! Too bad we don’t eat dandelion greens!! Looking at the smaller images, I liked the second one better. Upon enlargement, turns out I prefer the first!!

Respond to this post if you'd like.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s