Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Common Dandelion
Taraxacam officinale
F. Asteraeceae
General Description:

Probably the most well know of all wildflowers, the common dandelion measures an average of 5-45 cm. in height. The radially symmetrical flowerhead of the common dandelion is bright yellow and singularly arranged atop the terminal shoot of the light-green, slender, pithy stem that exudes milky sap. The basal leaves are broad and long having irregular teeth and lobes. When in seed the common dandelion has a unique downy-white, rounded head that is sensitive to physical disturbance.

Taraxacam officinale
Flowers:

The radially symmetrical flowerheads of the common dandelion measure 4 cm. in width. The bright yellow petal-like rays of the bloom are several and are arranged in concentric layers around the central axis; each petal has five well defined bristles at their tip. The dark green, narrow bracts are pointed and, below the base of the flower head, are reflexed against the length of the stem.

Fruit:

The unique seed-like fruit of the common dandelion are arranged in a densely packed, rounded head. Each seed has a bunching of silky white bristles that are sensitive to wind or any other light physical disturbance.

Leaves:

The basal leaves often vary in size, ranging from 5-40 cm. in length. They are lanceolate-to-ovate and often have deep, irregular teeth and/or lobes.

Habitat:

The common dandelion grows just about anywhere including fields, roadsides, and, unfortunately, lawns.

Fun Facts:

The seeded dandelion head is an incredible efficient means of population. The silky "parachutes" of the rounded head easily catch the wind and can be carried across a vast radius. It is also a very resilient plant that can grow in variable conditions.

The word dandelion is derived from the likeness of the common dandelion leaves and teeth to those of a lion.

Taraxacam officinale
Taraxacam officinale
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