The flower of a dandelion opens up in the morning and close in the evening. This flower will usually live for a few days and then inside this closed head the seed from each floret will then be formed on the stem head.
When the seed head develops from all the florets it then forms the shape of a snowball, globe or puffball and this is when you see a sea of white feathery snowballs dancing and swaying in a field or yard. These seeds are carried off in the wind and land to start a new plant life all over again. The same dandelion plant can live anywhere from5 -10 years.
The seed of a dandelion is called a pappus which is a set of feathery bristles that float and are carried off in the wind and dispersed to new locations. You can see then being carried in the air which looks like a bit of cotton fluff floating past you. It is amazing just have far they can be carried away in the air from their plant.
As a child we used to pick the pappus (white snowball of seeds) very carefully (not to disturb the formation), take a deep breath, hold it up close to your mouth, close our eyes and blow as hard as possible to try to blow off every white feathery bristle and make a wish. The tale was if you blew them all off in one go; your wish would come true.
The actual names given to the different parts of the seed are
Achene is the bottom of seed (anchor)
Pappus ‘Beak’ the stem of the seed
Pappus Disk is the white feathery top
Take a look at the photos below to see the different stages of life for a dandelion.