Krigia virginica

The final natural site we visited during our group trip to the southeast USA a few weeks ago was the Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area near Athens, Georgia. Like many of the sites we visited, we heard “You should have been here three weeks ago” for the best flower displays, as the warm spring had advanced everything by several weeks. Still, we found a number of species of interest, including this Virginia dwarf-dandelion in fruit. It’s intriguing structure combined with a bit of morning dew made it a favourite for many photographers that day.

To give a sense of scale, this plant is only about 15cm (6 in.) tall. Many additional photographs showing plants throughout much of the life cycle are available from MissouriPlants: Krigia virginica. For a photograph of a plant resembling a dandelion when losing its seeds, see the blog “Anybody Seen My Focus?”: Virginia dwarf-dandelion.

The USDA PLANTS database shows this taxon as occurring throughout much of the eastern USA, as well as occurring in Quebec and British Columbia. The Database of Vascular Plants of Canada notes that the presence of Krigia virginica in Quebec is doubtful, while the British Columbia occurrences are from introduced plants (mapped via E-Flora BC: Krigia virginica).

The Flora of North America entry for Krigia virginica notes the potential for this annual to become an introduction beyond its range, because of “its weedy habit”. Other sites, like the Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois, comment that it “is an adorable little plant” and the MissouriPlants site suggests it “would look good in a cultivated rock garden”.

FNA also makes note of an interesting morphological tidbit: “Plants collected late in the season have a branching habit remarkably unlike the scapiform vernal form”. Today’s photograph is of the typical scapiform vernal form, that is, a spring-flowering plant (vernal) with a inflorescence on a single, leafless stalk (scape).

Krigia virginica

7 responses to “Krigia virginica”

  1. Elizabeth Revell

    That is exquisite! And I loved the images on the blogspot, too. If that is 6 inches high, each of those five-petalled flowers must be pretty minute, yet so perfect.

  2. Nicky Staunton

    This beautiful diminutive native dandelion is one of my favorites – it loves hot, dry locations and brightens wherever it chooses (and is allowed to remain)! It surrounds areas of the hot, herbicided powerline and my fully exposed sandstone area. The original location I saw Krigia was in the cracks of the macadam parking lot at the now Occoquan Bay NWR in Woodbridge VA. Brave little plant. Your image of its seed “bloom” is the second gift to our Virginia Native Plant. Thank you!

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    i was born in new jersey eastern part of the states and as
    a very little child blowing on dandy lion fuff no doubt caused
    the eastern part of the states to be envaded with this plant
    happy spring time

  4. Iris Lefleur

    I shall never scoff at their sight in my yard again. From my height they seemed such a nuisance. Imagine what they think of me as they look with their wondrous eyes up at a biped armed with weeders and thoughts of mass extermination. I am so ashamed.

  5. Richard Old

    One of the readers remarked above about the “five petalled flowers” shown in the image. While this is certainly how it appears, in this case the “petals” are actually pappus scales and what appears to be exserted styles are pappus bristles. While in flower it is very similar to many of the other “dandelion-like” members of the Liguliflorae, but upon fruiting it provides us this unique and exquisite form.

  6. Ida

    This is very cool. About a week ago I was wandering around in the parking lot where I work admiring all the brave, lovely weeds that have popped up in the cracks in the asphalt. Now I know what the charming thing I called a “mini dandelion” is! I had not noticed the seed heads but went out today to appreciate them up close. Thanks for once again helping me to open my eyes a little more.

  7. Nicole

    In a world that has developed a device specificially for removing this pretty plant’s bigger cousin, it brings a moment of joy to see dandelions treated like real plants.
    Thanks.

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