Sunday, 17 January 2010
I'm a very lucky person: I have loads of great friends and I know lots of really interesting people that i've gathered throughout my life (i'm 32). One of my most favourite people on the whole planet is called Owen. He used to come and do plant surveys on a remote farm where I lived in the back of beyond years ago. He's a botanist.
Unfortunately for him it means that he gets masses of emails from me pestering for information, comments, plant ID (usually from slightly blurred photos) etc...
I'm not sure he always gets what i'm doing - there is no scientific value to the dandelion project, therefore why would you waste your time?
He sent me this email about the dandelion project:
The problem is that your collection has focussed on the variety and fantastic architectural diversity of dandelion leaves. The leaves are helpful in taxonomy but not reliable and the only way to be fairly sure which dandelion you have is to gather flowers in April.
I think most of your plants come from verges - which probably means that they are all part of the section Ruderalia, and many will probably be (accidental) introductions to the UK.
All is not lost, however. I'm copying this to my friend K W*, who used to work with us at Monks Wood but is now a key person in the BSBI. He's done some work on dandelions himself and may be able to suggest better than I can how best to progress with getting to grips with dandelions - and indeed whether you can use your leaf collection at all.
Hmmm - what is the point of my leaf collection? Owen thinks there might not be a use for it at all, but surely that's only in a botanical sense.
* I wanted to protect the identity of the innocent, hence using initials and not their full name.