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Dandelion leaf vasculature pattern

A new perspective on weeding

Have you ever wondered why dandelions are such successful weeds? ⁠One of the reasons is because the dandelion is very good at seed dispersal. The white “fluff” produced by dandelions after the yellow flower dies off are actually the seeds. Each seed is attached to a fluffy parachute, called a pappus, which helps the seed to fly and spread far on the wind.
Dandelions can reproduce by “apomixis”, which is a process of asexual reproduction via the seed. This means the dandelion flower doesn’t need to be fertilized or cross-pollinated in order to reproduce – it can just clone itself by sending it’s seeds out on the wind! The dandelion is truly a fascinating plant. Keep on reading to see how fascinating it is even from the inside!

Dandelion flower

Cellular structures in the dandelion leaf midrib

We made a thin transversal slice through the central midrib from the leaf of a dandelion plant. ⁠The first feature you might notice in this microscopy image is the “eyes” in the midvein. Each of the eye is a vascular bundle, also known as a leaf vein, which consists of xylem and phloem cells for transporting water and sugars.⁠ Towards the bottom outer edges of the midrib you can see green cells. These cells spread out into the blade (flat part) of the leaf and are full of chloroplasts for absorbing light energy for photosynthesis.⁠ There is a hole in the centre because the “pith” cells of the midrib are so delicate they got crushed during sectioning.⁠

Dandelion section

Dandelion pattern colour variations

To construct a circular, bubbly dandelion pattern, we used a singular vascular bundle put on repeat. We decided to go with green and yellow colour schemes to reflect the dandelion itself. In a third version we kept the colours from the dye that we used in the laboratory to make the cells of this thin slice visible. The yellow-brown colour scheme comes out super-retro and we love that it reflects the joyful yellow shade of the dandelion flower.⁠
Which is your fave?⁠ Blue, green or retro-yellow?⁠⠀

This pattern is currently (Nov 2020) available on linen at Tygverket Stockholm.

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