(Keep Feeling) Fasciation

I remember seeing some seriously messed-up-by-Mother-Nature mutant dandelions when I was a kid, sometimes they looked like 15 stems melted together, sometimes just one giant tube. Although, I'm sure I saw them all the time because I took the time to study dandelions like it was my job when I was 6. Now that I've grown up (physically and not mentally) and actually made it my job, I see these super-sized dandelions less often (again, because I spend less time looking) but I've learned that the correct term for them is "fasciated" or "fasciation". I saw one in my yard today:

In recent years, as Aster Yellows had become a "thing" in my garden (and most of the Midwest if not everywhere) I have wondered if fasciation and Aster Yellows were in cahoots, since dandelions are certainly in the Aster family. It seems they are not related. Not all mutants are related, I guess.

Did you know some plants are bred for their tendencies to fasciate? It's true! Think of Cockscomb Celosia, or my favorite, Fantail Willow, which I'm working on rooting right now and I'll blog about it later.

So, the word of the day is FASCIATION. Just like "Fascination" but without the "n".