Taraxacum officinale

Common Names: Common dandelion
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Aster family

They are considered a weed in most places and an invasive species for lawns. Grows from generally unbranched taproots and produces 1 to 10+ stems that are typically 5 to 40 cm tall, but sometimes up to 70 cm. The stems can be tinted purplish, they are upright or lax, and produce flower heads that are held as tall or taller than the foliage. The foliage may be upright-growing or horizontally spreading; the leaves have petioles that are either unwinged or narrowly winged. The stems can be glabrous or sparsely covered with short hairs. Plants have milky latex and the leaves are all basal; each flowering stem lacks bracts and has one single flower head. The yellow flower heads lack receptacle bracts and all the flowers, which are called florets, are ligulate and bisexual. The leaves are 5 to 45 cm long and 1 to 10 cm wide, and are oblanceolate, oblong, or obovate in shape, with the bases gradually narrowing to the petiole. The leaf margins are typically shallowly lobed to deeply lobed and often lacerate or toothed with sharp or dull teeth. The calyculi (the cuplike bracts that hold the florets) are composed of 12 to 18 segments: each segment is reflexed and sometimes glaucous. The lanceolate shaped bractlets are in two series, with the apices acuminate in shape. The 14 to 25 mm wide involucres are green to dark green or brownish-green, with the tips dark gray or purplish. The florets number 40 to over 100 per head, having corollas that are yellow or orange-yellow in color. The fruits, called cypselae, range in color from olive-green or olive-brown to straw-colored to grayish, they are oblanceoloid in shape and 2 to 3 mm long with slender beaks. The fruits have 4 to 12 ribs that have sharp edges. The silky pappi, which form the parachutes, are white to silver-white in color and around 6 mm wide.

Primary Flower Color: Yellow
Secondary Flower Color: Yellow
Edible Notes: Young leaves and flowers are edible and used in salads. The young flower buds can be dipped in batter and fried. Dandelion is used as a flavoring for British soda. Can be found in some gourmet food stores as Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock soda. Dandelion greens are sometimes available fresh in the produce section of some supermarkets.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.