One of my classmates in school, Megan, fell in love with the giant dandelions in western Montana, to the point where they showed up in many of her photographs and projects. For anyone used to the typical lawn weed with its golf-ball-sized seed pods, these were certainly giant. The typical puffball would be the size of a baseball, light and airy with perfectly formed parachutes for each seed. And they lasted all summer out in the fields and along the streams. It took the hard cold snap and high winds of early October to get them to release their seeds and finally fulfill their summer obligation.
Nothing quite like that here in eastern Nebraska, but we do have giant thistles – at least that’s what I call them. Their large pods are now open and releasing their airborne seed packages to start the process over next spring. The wind around here makes distribution pretty effective although I only see them in the parks next to lakes or streams. With the warm light of the setting sun hitting them, they look like silk threads attached to little rough seeds.