A dandelion parachute ball in my lawn. This one has already lost some of its parachutes.
After pollination and flowering is finished, the dandelion flower dries out for a day or two and then the seed-bearing parachutes expand and lift out of the dried flower head. The dried part of the flower drops off and the parachute ball opens into a full sphere.
When ready to disperse, a gust of wind will carry the seeds attached to their parachutes and disperse them over a wide area. The parachute drops off when the seed strikes an obstacle.
After the seed is released, the parachutes lose their feathered structure and take on a fuzzy, cotton-like appearance, often called “dandelion snow”.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Lens: Tamron 70-300mm LD macro 1:2
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Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.