Thursday, March 3, 2016

Biology Lab Paper

For my biology lab this semester I had to pick a plant to research and write its autobiography. I chose to do a dandelion. It was pretty enjoyable to write so I thought I'd post it here just for fun.

Taraxacum Officinale: My Life on the Hit List
From the beginning, I suspected life would be tough. As a young seed, I was blown far from my family. While about a fifth of my siblings landed close to our mother, my pappus took me far from home -not to mention I was forced from my mother with a good deal of spit from some rotten human child. Thankfully, I managed to land on a moist plot of soil. There, I was greeted by a large family by the name of Poaceae. To my delight, a caring young man would drench us with a refreshing burst of water from a snake-like tube and croon encouraging words each evening. With such welcoming treatment, I quickly brushed aside my initial feelings of trepidation and sprouted after only eight weeks. I became an adorable little rosette.
Not long after, I bloomed. I had been working hard to create as many florets as possible into a little golden package of sunshine and was quite pleased with the results. That evening, I waited in anticipation for my friendly gardener to notice my beaming face. I had seen him exclaim excitedly over some snapdragons not that long ago and couldn’t wait to hear similar praise. His reaction was like nothing I had imagined. I know not what I did, but I got the distinct sense that the man was peeved with my presence. This inkling was probably due to his incensed behavior which included swearing about some lost "best yard award" and multiple doses of poison with which he tried to drown me. My root had grown quite deep by then and I was able to cling onto life. 
            Now of course, all this did not have the best effect on my self-esteem. I turned away my face in shame each evening and curled up out of view the best I could when I saw him coming with the watering. Even this did not detour him, however, and he comforted himself with ruthlessly chopping the entire lawn down whenever I dared to lift my head. Yet, I still lived on. While his attempts to kill me had been unsuccessful, he had unintentionally killed some of my surrounding neighbors in the attacks. No, he was not pleased, but neither was I. I could handle his bullying myself, but I would not allow the Poaceae to suffer as well. It was time to strike back.
I was able to make contact with some fellow dandelions in a nearby ditch. Well, it actually turned out to be just one dandelion, but this chap had perfected a cloning process called apomixis. I figured if I could spread myself across the yard, the human would give up. I quickly learned all I could of the process and decided cloning was my best chance of winning the war. There was only one problem with this plan that I could see. I needed time without that man trying to kill me. If I could keep my head from being chopped off long enough, I would be able to produce cypsela that would turn into my exact copy. Unfortunately, the killer of all things Taraxacum never gave me enough time. I had to be patient. Surely one day he would have to leave for an extended period of time. I could only hope that time would not be during the winter.
Later that summer, I was given my chance. The human packed his belongings and drove away. I hoped this would give me enough time to propagate myself across the man's lawn and several of the neighboring yards. Once I had a head full of flowers (about 200 of them) it would only take me a few days to spread. I grew my cypsela as quickly as I could. When I was finished, a convenient breeze blew my experiment throughout the yard and onward. I had succeeded.
The problem with success is that without one with whom to share it (or to rub it into his face) there isn’t much of a point besides a bit of inner satisfaction. The young man never came back. Without him, I found myself (or rather myselves) scattered over more ground than I truly needed and without further purpose. No one admired my blooms, and apoximis seemed to take over my life. I produced flower after flower and grew in number.
This continued uneventfully for about two years (though I slept in the winter). Then one day my overgrown jungle was stumbled upon by an older woman with long, scraggly hair. She walked up to me and gently caressed my golden puff.
“Hello, aren’t you pretty?” she said with a smile. I, unaccustomed to such praise, shyly bowed my head in acknowledgment. Here was someone who actually cared!
“Yes, you’ll do just fine,” she nodded. To my horror, she pinched my head off and unceremoniously wiped my white, milky innards upon her hidden wart. I wish I could tell you she stopped there, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about cloning, it’s that it makes you susceptible to multiple abuses rather than “one and done.” This witch went around plucking each of my blossoms and even as far as digging up my roots and pulling out my leaves. The whole time she went on mumbling “vitamin A” and something about helping her liver. For me, this was it -I had had it. Though perhaps I shouldn’t have, I grew bitter. I made myself prickly and thick-skinned and decided I was done with trying to be happy.

Works Cited
“Biology of Dandelions” Nature North. Web.        
“Dandelions” University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Web.     
“Dandelion,Taraxacum officinale” Web.


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Ashley said...

This was so cool! I loved how you combined science with fiction. I learned some stuff too!

Emily said...

Yay! I'm glad you liked it. :)

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