Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale

Common Name: common dandelion

Synonyms: Taraxacum vulgare

Habit: Germinates or sprouts year round but mainly in fall and spring. Major flower production starts in spring and may last all summer and into fall.

Leaves: May have several shapes but usually have pointed jagged edges and typically lack hairs. When leaves are cut, milky sap exudes from the cut surface.

Identifying Characteristics: All plant parts have milky sap. Enlarged taproot on mature plants.

Flower Seed Head: Yellow flowers with numerous petals attached to slender stalks. Flowers soon turn to white puffy balls of seed. A bare knobby stalk often remains when seed are blown away.

Seed Fruit: Seed are light brown and have jagged edges. Each seed is attached to a slender stalk that contains a tuft of hairs on the opposite end.

Where Found: Lawns, waste places, pastures, fields, and roadsides. Tolerates mowing.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Asteraceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rosette

  • Leaf shape: lance

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: lobed; serrated

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: yellow; orange

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower symmetry: radial symmetery

  • Flower diameter: half dollar; quarter

  • Root structure: taproot; fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: none; shorter than leaf; longer than leaf