Common Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

Family Compositae (Asteraceae)

Notable Features
Leaves: Leaves long and lobed* with pointed tips.
Flowers: Single, solitary, yellow flowers emerge from the center on the plant on slender, smooth, hollow, green stems filled with a milky sap. Flowers appear March through September and eventually form puffy greyish-white seed balls which disperse on the wind.

Size/ Shape: A small weedy plant that does not exceed 18 inches (45 centimeters) in height.

Location on Campus

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Located throughout campus on grassy lawns, roadsides, on the edges of woodlands and wetlands, and in unmanaged, rocky areas. A very hardy plant.

Every part of the common dandelion can be consumed: young leaves, roots, flowers, and flower buds. Young leaves that grow before the flowers emerge are best, and can be added to salads or boiled for 5 to 10 minutes and eaten as a cooked green. Flowers can be collected, battered, fried and served as fritters. Flower buds are excellent as boiled vegetables, or can be pickled in vinegar. Even the roots can be collected to make coffee - they should be baked in an oven until brown and brittle, then crushed and brewed like coffee.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.