Dandelions


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Field of Dandelions

Dandelion
(Taraxacum officinale)
a.k.a. Common Dandelion

Dandelion derived its scientific name 'officinale' meaning 'medicinal', because of its medical use. Some think the backward pointing teeth of the leaves resemble those of a lion, hence the common name.

The Dandelion is a common perennial herb of the sunflower family. It is solitary and can grow from 5-60 cm. in height.

Many people consider Dandelions a weed although others find a variety of uses for them.

Dandelions

LEAVES:

- grow from the root, circling around the stem
- spoon shaped or oblong
- can be lobed or toothed
- long - almost as long as the flower stems

FLOWERS:

- bright yellow ray flowers comprise the heads
- no disk flowers
- the flower head sits on a base of overlapping bracts
FRUIT:
- seeds are attached to a 'parachute' by a long stalk
- the 'parachute' is white or greyish
HABITAT:

- Dandelions can be found at most elevations
- in disturbed, cultivated areas and clearings
- widespread throughout BC
FASCINATING FACTS:

- Dandelions were introduced from Europe
- in the evening the flowers close.
- young tender Dandelion leaves can be cooked or eaten raw as a salad green
- a Dandelion coffee is made from dried and ground roots; the roots can also be cooked and eaten
- dandelion wine is made from the flowers.

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Dandelions