NEWS

The secret physics of dandelion seeds

Dandelion seeds fly using previously unknown physics

Every child knows that blowing on a dandelion clock will send its seeds floating off into the air. But physicists wanted to know more. How does an individual seed manage to maintain such stable flight? Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the fluid dynamics of air flow around the seed and discovered a completely new type of flight. It’s based on a previously unknown kind of vortex which may even be common in the plant and animal kingdoms, now that we know where to look.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07103-8
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the daily Nature Briefing email newsletter

Stay up to date with what matters in science and why, handpicked from Nature and other publications worldwide.

Sign Up