Dandelion Information clipart dandelion seeds

The common dandelion is a flowering, biennial or perennial herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family, which is a member of the daisy family. Dandelion is the most well know of all wildflowers.The scientific name for the Dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. Carl Linnaeus named the species Leontodon Taraxacum in 1753. The genus name Taraxacum, might be from the Arabic word "Tharakhchakon", or from the Greek word "Tarraxos". The common name "dandelion," comes from the French phrase "dent de lion", which means "lion's tooth", in reference to the jagged shaped foliage. Some sources claim the word dandelion descended from the Greek word leontodon, also a word that translates to 'lions's tooth'.

[History]  [Ecology]  [Habitat]  [Roots]  [Seedling]  [Leaves]  [Maturity]  [Flowers]  [Fruit]  [Seeds]  [Reproduction]  [Common Issues]  [Dandelion Facts]

History and Origin

Herbalists trace the plant's origins to the Asian and European continents. The dandelion was most likely intentionally introduced to America for its nutritional and medicinal value. The plant eventually found its way to most parts of the world. Dandelions were well known to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese cultures. The plant was used for thousands of years in traditonal Chinese medicine. Prior to the 20th century, dandelion was often used to treat vitamin deficiences and other early ailments. [more]



The dandelion grows in various climates and environments, often in harsh conditions and sometimes year-round. The plant's rapid growth cycle and difficulty to eradicate causes it to be considered a noxious weed and nuisance to many. Over population of dandelion in field crops is a significant cause of economic damage in agriculture. Dandelions bloom throughout the growing season. They are a nutritious food source for both animals and humans, and a variety of insects feed upon and pollinate the flower. [full text]



Dandelions originated in Eurasia but are now found all over the world.They can be found in almost every climate except in polar or artic regions and the driest deserts. They thrive best in areas with moist nutrional soil, mild temperatures, direct sunlight, and areas with disturbed soil. They are commonly found in lawns, on roadsides, parks, meadows, rocky hills and on the shores of water ways. Dandelions are extremely resiliant plants that can grow in unusual places or areas with rugged terrain. They also have the ability to survive harsh conditions. [full text]



The dandelion grows from unbranched taproots that can be as thick as 1/2 inch in the largest specimens. The taproot is deep, twisted, and brittle, and usually extends about 6 to 18 inches underground. Attempts to uproot dandelion to control growth is sometimes unsuccesful because just a small portion of root left behind can grow an entirely new plant. Dandelion root is filled with nutrients and even used as a coffee substitute. [full text]



Seedling development starts with germination of the seed. Common dandelion seedlings emerge in early springtime. The first and later leaves of the dandelion seedling are green, oval or spoon shaped with no hairs. The stem below the seed leaves does not elongate and seems to dissapear as the plant matures. Dandelion seedlings take between 8 and 15 weeks to reach full maturity and bloom. The warmer the conditions, the quicker the plant will begin flowering. [full text]



The foliage of the dandelion plant form a circular arrangement of leaves, called a basal rosette, clustered around the base where it emerges from the ground. Dandelion leaves are oval to oblong shaped and have irregular, jagged tooth-shaped edges, hence the root meaning of its name which translates to "lion's tooth". Dandelion greens are the an extremely nutritious leafy vegetable, often used for salads. The green leaves also make a great spring tonic, and are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. [full text]


Mature Plant

The dandelion is a common weed with a yellow flower that is found in many home owner's yards. The stages of a dandelion are growing from a seedling to a mature plant. The next stage is when the flower appears. The fruit will then appear within the flower, and the final stage is when it goes to seed. The dandelion plant itself has no visible stem. Leaves are sparsely hairy or hairless, with deeply serrated edges. The leaves cluster and form into a rosette at the base of the plant. The strong, deep taproot of the dandelion exudes a milky substance when cut.



Dandelions flower most often in early summer with "late bloomers" flowering in mid-September to early October, repeatedly blooming throughout the growing season. Dandelion flowers are bright golden-yellow and The flower head consists of many small, yellow, petal-like flowers referred to as 'ray flowers', or 'ray florets'. After pollination, the dandelion flower dries out and the familiar white seed puff appears. The dandelion blossom, along with the leaves, has nutritional and medicinal value and is a source of nourishment for different wildlife. [full text]



The dandelion contains tiny, brown, one-seeded fruits called achene which contain the actual seed. An achene is considered a dry fruit which does not bloom or release its seed upon maturity. The seed-fruits terminate in a parachute-like structure called a pappus that allows the seeds to be carried by wind-current across long distances. Each dandelion flower can produce dozens of flying achenes, making for quick distribution and a abundance of new dandelion plants. [full text]



It takes between 9 to 15 days for the dandelion bloom to fully ripen and transform into the familiar, white, spherical, seed head. The seed heads contains many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Each seed achene is attached to a tiny parachute-like structure, called pappus enabling the seeds to be carried by the wind currents and transported over long distances, producing more plants wherever they land. Each dandelion that goes to seed produces between 135-300 seeds. [full text]



The dandelion has multiple ways to reproducing themselves, with the most common method being through its wind-aided dispersal of seeds. Dandelion florets are possess both male (pollen-producing) and female (seed-producing) parts. The dandelion can also regrow an entire new plant from its taproot by sending off new shoots underground. Dandelions are capable of reproducing themselves even under harash conditions. Dandelion plants typically have 24 or 40 pairs of chromosomes, but some have 16 or 32 chromosomes. [full text]


Common Issues

The dandelion is a host of aster yellow disease, which affects a number of vegetable crops. Because dandelion contains high amounts of certain minerals, it serves as a complement to pasture forage for livestock. In addition to the dandelion being very weedy, the fine hairs of this one-seeded fruit can sometimes clog cultivation equipment.

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For more information about the dandelion, check out the Dandelion Facts section, or browse through the Dandelion Articles Section.