Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale

The Plant w/Flower

The Flower

Seed Heads

The Pollen

400X (43µm)


The common dandelion, taraxacum officinale, was introduced from Europe and has spread all across the US. (American Southwest.net)


"The common dandelion, taraxacum officinale, was introduced from Europe and has spread all across the US. The yellow flower heads, 1.5 inches in diameter, consist of between 40 and 100 narrow ray petals, forming a semi-sphere when fully in bloom. Petals have straight edges and a notch on the tip. Beneath the petals are green bracts, curling back towards the unbranched, hollow stem, which contains milky sap. The flowers are followed by thin, feathery seeds that angle in all directions to form a complete sphere. Leaves grow only around the base." (American Southwest.net)

Ethnobotanical Uses


"Leaves, flowers, buds, young stalks, and roots are edible raw or cooked. Dandelions are bitter, but often pleasantly so. Best to pick leaves before the flowers appear. Leaves are somewhat less bitter when young but can be eaten when older as well. Tight, unfurled crowns, at ground level in the middle of the rosette are also tender and edible. To best enjoy the flowers, remove them from the green bracts, although this isn't necessary. 

Roots are best eaten when they are young enough to be uniformly whitish throughout, except for the darker skin. Older roots become tougher and darker in the center. Both old and younger roots can be roasted and used for dandelion 'coffee.'" (Morgan 57)

"Gather 1 gallon of dandelion flowers on a dry day. Put these in a 2-gallon crock and pour 1 gallon of boiling water over them. Cover the jar and allow the flowers to steep for 3 days. Strain through a jelly cloth so you can squeeze all the liquid from the flowers. Put the liquid in a kettle, add 1 small ginger root, the thinly pared peels and the juice of 3 oranges and 1 lemon. Stir in 3 pounds of sugar and boil gently for 20 minutes. Return the liquid to the crock and allow it to cool until barely lukewarm. Spread 1/2 cake of yeast on a piece of toasted rye bread and float it on top. Cover the crock with a cloth and keep in a warm room for 6 days. Then strain off the wine into a gallon jug, corking it loosely with a wad of cotton. Keep in a dark place for 3 weeks, then carefully decant into a bottle and cap or cork tightly. Don't touch it until Christmas or later." (Gibbons Stalking 81-2)

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