Taraxum officinale

Common Dandelion

Botanical description: Dandelions are a sunny, familiar addition to the urban flora. Taraxacum officinale is one of the world’s most recognized weeds and invades the rich soils of cultivated places like suburban lawns as well as tough urban sites like sidewalk edges and open lots. Dandelion’s ability to take root on cliffs in its native environment enables it to thrive in urban pavements. When situated within hardscaped areas and around storm drains, it offers a valuable service of slowing down stormwater runoff. The deeply lobed leaves and fleshy taproot contain bitter, milky juices which many animals dislike and help protect the plant from predation. Introduced from Europe as a salad green in the mid-17th century, the leaves, root and flower are eaten as tender, fresh greens, dried for tea or used in the preparation of dandelion wine. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium, containing more Vitamin A per plant than carrots or spinach. it has also been used in Europe as a medicinal plant for hundreds of years. It ubiquitous golden flowers attract bees, flies, butterflies, and children. Anyone who has ever blown on the spherical heads of a mature dandelion will know that the seeds are wind dispersed, and take flight via a feathery tuft of pappus.

Indexed

23

Place of Origin

Eurasia