Please identify this little and soft white creature. Since childhood I am seeing this things flying in my surroundings and nowadays they are seen occasionally.

enter image description here

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ it's a seed - similar to dandelion, many species use wind dispersal $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    May 13 '16 at 7:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's indeed a seed. It could help if you mentioned the geographical origin of the seed, but it could help even more if you could trace it back to its source plant. $\endgroup$
    – bli
    May 14 '16 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @DvPr could you tell your seed-like structure at centre of white circle on photo; whether was 1. narrow long (as looking in the photo), or 2. flat, (photographed at edge, so looking narrow rod-like)? Also, could you tell country or climate, and few more detailed photographs? $\endgroup$ Aug 28 '16 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Okay I'm converting these comments into an answer. I wrote them as comment when I was new; so I wasn't used-to with the SE structure. $\endgroup$ Feb 9 '17 at 16:11

It is, as stated by @rg255 a seed (or actually a fruit, see below). The seed itself is the small brownish thing. The white hairs are attached to make the seed fly with the wind. Looking at the seed and the hairs, I think the seed belongs to the daisy and dandelion familie asteracae/compositae. Altough there are other possibilities, see comments.

EDIT: @AlwaysConfused is right if he states that in case of daisy family, it should be called a fruit, that containes one single seed. To be more precise, it is an Achene/Cypsula. In many species, what is often referred to as the "seed" is actually a fruit containing the seed. The seed-like appearance is owed to the hardening of the wall of the seed-vessel, which encloses the solitary seed so closely as to seem like an outer coat. Info derived from here on fruits and seeds and more specifically on Achenes/Cypsela here

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this update; I'm converting the comments to answer. I wrote these comments when I was very new to SE so I was then not accustomed with the details of SE structure. Later I came to know that answers in form of comment is troublesome and considered as bad. $\endgroup$ Feb 9 '17 at 16:15

Almost certainly a fruit or seed, having wind-dispersal mechanism.

But it could be

    1. a seed, having one-bunch of "coma" (bundle of hairs on a small spot on a seed). Seed with coma is common in members of family asclepiadaceae and apocynaceae.

Asclepias syriaca

Asclepias syriaca

(Wikipedia page) (Wikimedia)

Daemia extensa (Synonymous to Pergularia daemia)

*Daemia extensa*

( Text and Photo source )

Calotropis procera

enter image description here


Or may be a

Pappus looks same as coma; but from viewpoint of development it is different from coma. Most of the asteraceae member's fruits (these grain like structures are not seeds but fruits ('Cypsela', as user @RHA mentioned), containing 1 seed), contains persistent calyx; which is known as pappus, and commonly adapted for dispersal with air.

Tridax flower

A flower of Tridax procumbens showing epigynous calyx, which will later be persisted with fruit (from inferior-ovary) as pappus. Image Source

Pappus of Vernonia cinerea (Synonymous with Cyanthillium cinereum)

*Cyanthillium cinereum*

(Source) , (image)

Pappus of Tridax procumbens

Tridax Pappus

(Source) , (image)

Taraxacum sp. (Dandelion)

Taraxacum head


This is a Taraxacum inflorescence (matured), showing fruits with pappus, attached with the receptacle, and a single fruit is like this:

Taraxacum fruit

(Source) , (image).


  1. College Botany, Vol. 1 by Gangulee, Das and Datta; New Central Book Agency.

  2. BOTANY for Degree Students / A. C. Dutta / Oxford


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