A warm spring day at the end of April, I climb a hill to an open sand plain on a wasteland next to the highway. As I reach the top, the heat strikes me like a hammer.
On the open sandy field, temperatures are through the roof, making it a burden for the couple of plants that try to survive there. And these hard circumstances trigger a big feedback, as the heat kills of the plants that normally do such a good job to keep the temperatures between reasonable boundaries.
Where they cannot grow, the temperatures will not be buffered – especially not on a dry sandy soil, making germination of new plants almost impossible. This feedback can drastically slow down the recolonisation of an area like this.
It was hence a pleasant surprise when I saw this optimistic dandelion bravely flowering on the hottest spot of all. Another reminder of the impressive flexibility that this species can show, as they can survive – and win the competition – everywhere from the most stressful to the easiest environment.
We will definitely here more of these winners of ecology in the future!