It's mind-boggling how dandelions are so pertinacious. Near the center of this photo can be seen the yellow heads of two dandelions surrounded by three others which never fully opened but turned to dandelion fluff just for spite. I sent this image directly here from my phone so I didn't have opportunity to tweak it for better visibility. Anyway, a few weeks ago we had a couple of days in which the temperature reached above 50 degrees fahrenheit. Two warm days and these little yellow weeds popped their heads up as if it wasn't early January. The next couple of days saw temps drop into the teens and single digits for a few days followed by a week of never-above-freezing temps and then more single digit temperatures. The photo here was taken on the last day of single digit temperatures, which has raised a few questions in my mind.
Clearly, it was the short bit of warmish weather that inspired these plants to burst forth. I am very surprised that mid-50's temps was all it took. Until now I would have expected mid-70's to be the trigger point. So, once their heads pop up, even if they don't really open, is the dandelion life-cycle time sensitive or triggered by further weather events?
If it's time, then a blooming dandy apparently takes about 2 weeks to turn poof, regardless of conditions. If it's weather, perhaps the extreme cold froze all moisture out of the air, simulating a dry condition which caused the plants to go poofy. I don't know. I enjoy speculating but I don't really care enough to Google the correct answer.
The truth is, I'm quite awestruck by the amazing powers of plants. Plants take back what we leave behind, so long as what we leave behind doesn't kill them first. Even so, in the long run it's plants that take eventually take it back. Beware of that fern in the corner. It's plotting against you.