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My Mutant Dandelions

I love everything weird and colorful in this world and I try to live a life that will make the world a little better once I'm gone.

Fasciated Dandelions in My Own Backyard

While many people spend time and money trying to rid their yard of every last dandelion in sight, I actually like them. I'm not sure how my neighbors feel about it, but I think that a yard sprinkled in little yellow flowers is nice, and that's why I let them live.

However, this year, my dandelions are looking a bit grotesque. My dandelions have mutated!

Instead of the little yellow flower that ends up as a slim stem with a puff on top, I've got fat ugly monstrous Franken-flowers. I'm no horticulturist, but I know that's weird.

Being curious by nature, especially about nature, I had to get to the bottom of this. Plus, I needed reassurance that there wasn't something happening in my yard that would make me mutate into Swamp Thing.

A Close-Up of My Mutant Dandelion - Front & Back of My Fasciated Dandelion

What Does Science Call It?

Dandelion Mutations = Taraxacum officinale bizzaro

Taraxacum officinale is the name of the species better known as the common dandelion.

So, after observing our botanical specimen, noting its wide, but hollow stem, and counting how many heads it had (nine), we took some photos. (It's too bad I didn't notice this mutant while still yellow, or I would have documented its growth.)

Then my niece did what every curious girl does who finds something fascinating in nature: she plucked it from the ground and ran it in to Grandma to find out what it was.

It seems that our dandelion's mutation is fasciation (also known as cresting).

Fortunately, fasciation is not something to be concerned about. Seeing a fasciated dandelion does not mean you have toxic waste on your land and it doesn't mean that your house is being subjected to terrible radiation. There is no reason to panic if you find a mutant dandelion in your yard.

When cresting occurs, a growing point on the plant changes from a round dome of cells into a crescent shape. This could be caused by many events such as hormonal imbalance, infection (by bacteria, viruses or phytoplasmas), environmental changes (such as extreme weather), mechanical damage (such as being hoed), or feeding by insects or other animals. The exact cause for a particular case of fasciation is rarely known and often seems just random.

Over a hundred plants have been documented as having occurrences of fascination, including ferns, woody plants, annuals and perennials, cacti, fruits and vegetables. The fasciation often causes stems to have wide band-like shape, and the flowers to grow in a crescent shape like a fan.

Have you ever seen a mutated dandelion?

Normal Dandelion Stem vs. Fasciated Dandelion Stem

Normal Dandelion Stem vs. Fasciated Dandelion Stem

Normal Dandelion Stem vs. Fasciated Dandelion Stem

Mutant Dandelion

Mutant Dandelion

I'm Not the Only One With Mutant Dandelions

Reports of Fasciated Dandelions Around the World

I am located in upstate NY, but mutant dandelions have been seen around the world. Check out the photos from these sightings:

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Fascinating Fasciation

So, now you know what a fasciated dandelion looks like. Are you wondering what other flowers with fasciation look like?

Check out these mutated flowers:

Fasciated Flower (White Mule's Ear)

Fasciated Flower (White Mule's Ear)

Fasciated Flower (White Mule's Ear)

I love this t-shirt which is subtle in its beauty, just as the dandelion is.

On the back it reads:

"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 07, 2020:

Interesting :) I dont think I have seen a mutated plant and if I did, I probably wouldnt recognize it. Have a wonderful week. :)

Jacqueline on April 27, 2020:

My daughter ran in today with a bouquet of dandelions, behind her back there was a single stem. I told her to give it to me so we can place it in with the rest. She told me that it was special and that she wanted to make a book mark from sure is special. The dandelion came from behind her back with 7 heads, i told her we should find a way to preserve this because a 4 leaf clover is pretty special so in our eyes, this should be just as special! Any ideas on how to preserve this thick and large find?

Marilyn on May 13, 2018:

I just found dandelions with this variant, first time ever. I don't use chemicals in the yard, but our weather has been much colder in winter for the past two years with excessive snow at unusual times.

Jorge Cruz from Canada on January 30, 2018:

Thank you so much for this hub. I too, like dandelions. It is a pity people remove them.

Duncan Cratty on April 16, 2017:

I found one in my yard

Chris O on May 15, 2016:

Just found one growing against the house in Kincardine, Ontario Canada.

anonymous on April 19, 2013:

Thanks for mentioning my fasciated dandelions! Loads more here in France this year!

Aunt-Mollie on January 07, 2013:

This looks like a mystery that someone should solve.

anonymous on January 02, 2013:

I eat dandelions but I don´t think I would touch the mutant ones!

Jo-Jackson on December 26, 2012:

I'm a dandelion killer so mine never get a chance to fasciate.

K Bechand from NY on October 06, 2012:

maybe you spilled some miracle grow on it ...LOL - cool

StewartClan on September 04, 2012:

Never seen dandelions like this, but my neighbour when I lived in Leeds, England, had crested robins. Never seen them before or since. I wonder if they were a mutation?

xriotdotbiz lm on August 12, 2012:

I think this lens is so cool because of the fascination of the unusual. Good work!

Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 11, 2012:

Wow! I didn't know these existed. Thanks for the photos and sharing about it!

AlleyCatLane on August 11, 2012:

Quite interesting lens. My dandelions tends to grow quite large here in Florida so we pluck them, but I do love seeing lawns and fields of them in upstate new York when we visit in the summers.

AlienwareCoupons on August 11, 2012:


MrMojo01 on August 11, 2012:

Crazy pictures!

nicks44 on August 11, 2012:

Another one of them mutant plants, this just keeps getting better and better :)

karen-stephens on August 10, 2012:

OMG get dandilion insurance!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on August 10, 2012:

Nice lens. No I have not seen any dandelions like that, but I will be looking out for then now. Thanks.

eduguy1 on August 09, 2012:

Those are so scary.


drevostavby on August 09, 2012:

This is not dandelions but moooonster :)

RoadMonkey on August 09, 2012:

Enjoyed that. At first I thought it was a fasciNated dandelion - maybe magic? Then I realised the word was fasciated! Fascinating lens, though :)

CottageHomestead on August 08, 2012:

WOW! That is crazy stuff - I had never seen that before. I love dandelions and they are good for you too. :) When I was younger I ate them deep fried (the flower part) so good.

anonymous on August 08, 2012:

YOur fasciated dandelions are fascinating but I'm not sure there is a guarantee of not turning into a swamp thing....congratulations on front page honors!

DeirdreDenholm on August 08, 2012:

Thanks for the info.

Rosaquid on August 08, 2012:

Our peace lily produced a couple of fasciated flowers once, and we found some fasciated cleomes growing alongside the road. It's an interesting phenomena!

Thanks for sharing yours.

Tara Wojtaszek on August 07, 2012:

Never heard of fasciated dandelions before, but now I'll keep a look out.

MizzMary on August 07, 2012:

Ahhh, I love to learn something when I read a lens. I remember when I was a kid and our back yard had almost as many dandelions as grass one year, and I found a couple that were very similar to your photos. Mystery solved!

Sara Krentz from USA on August 07, 2012:

I greatly enjoyed reading this fascinating and funny lens - thanks!

Dan from CNY on August 07, 2012:

Nature can be quite strange at times.

kimark421 on August 07, 2012:

I'm surprised I haven't had any giant mutated dandelions in my yard, I have tons of other weeds that I've never seen before!.

Great lens!

Michey LM on August 07, 2012:

I never see "Mutant Dandelions", your pictures are great and I learn something new in this lens... Blessings!

fascina on August 07, 2012:

Cute flower pictures. ^_^

classifiedshi on August 07, 2012:

good stuff.....look like green color every where

intermarks on August 06, 2012:

This is something great that should be recorded. May be it will contribute some important parts for scientists to learn about the mutation

anonymous on August 06, 2012:

amazing, great share

wedpittsburgh lm on August 06, 2012:

Wow! This is so interesting. I've never even heard of such a thing but how neat! I might have to pay more attention in my own garden.

Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on August 06, 2012:

Succulent plants are well known for fasciating, and are entered into flowers shows and displayed.

SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on August 06, 2012:

Fascinating fasciation - it really is! I've seen them before but not quite so extreme.

kindoak on August 05, 2012:

I've never seen anything like this before, and I walk the wood and pasture trails every day. Weird stuff. The white mule's ear looks like science fiction stuff. Almost scary, lol

clayva on August 05, 2012:

Very interesting, who'd have thought?

jlshernandez on August 05, 2012:

It's bad enough that these are weeds, but with the stems growing so thick, it would make it harder to pull them out of the ground. Interesting mutation.

TheAusMan14 on August 05, 2012:

This is quite interesting!

igottahaveone on August 03, 2012:

I have seen this before thought it was odd and mowed it over and thought it was due to being very dry at the time, didn't give it another thought until this article.

MillBucks on August 03, 2012:

Wow, these are so weird! I have never run into one of these and I do have some dandelions growing in my backyard. Guess the hunt is on now, thanks for sharing this awesome info. Congrats on your well deserved Purple Star.

hntrssthmpsn on July 31, 2012:

Awesome! I've never seen dandelions like these, but we did have a "mutant" dandelion that grew disturbingly tall at an old house... so tall that, rather than cut it down, we staked it, then tied it off to the rain gutter, just to see how tall it would grow. I know that can't have been a regular dandelion, though the only difference I could see between it and the others in the yard was size... it was up to the roof!

anonymous on July 31, 2012:

Glad to hear it was not from toxins - that would have been my first worry. Very interesting photo.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on July 31, 2012:

Fascinating fasciation! I wouldn't eat a dandelion salad made out this though-- I might grow a second head an fuse it.

JoshK47 on July 31, 2012:

Whoa, those are pretty crazy!

Bustler on July 31, 2012:

Nice info. Thanks for sharing

CCGAL on July 31, 2012:

I am so glad you took the time to build this lens. I had no idea what these were, and to learn about this process and to have resources to go see other plants that do this was awesome. I love love love learning new things like this - so thank you!

Nicole Pellegrini from New Jersey on July 31, 2012:

How bizarre yet fascinating!

Camden1 on July 31, 2012:

I've never seen these before (thank goodness) - I much prefer the cute little yellow dandelions that my kids always picked for me when they were little!

ctmom1 on July 31, 2012:

Just looking at these pictures makes me want to sneeze. Holy allergies batman! Glad I don't have any around here!

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