Now is a good time to touch on some distinguishing identifying plant characteristics!
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
- official (designated Latin name) medicinal and nutritive qualities have been treasured and trusted for millennia.
- are common plants, but not ordinary.
- have non-edible uses like for dye, and many edible uses, including salad, cooked green, cooked vegetable, fritters, coffee, and…TEA!!!
- grow in mesophytic, xerophytic and hydrophytic habitats (grow in moderately moist, dry, and wet conditions and environments).
- range worldwide from the arctic to the tropics, especially in sunny areas.
- thrive in flower beds, lawns, pastures, meadows, roadsides, moist/open places.
- solitary yellow flower heads grow atop unbranched, hairless, leafless, milky, hollow stalks that later yield downy white tufted “parachute” seedballs.
- outer bracts (sometimes mistakenly called sepals) of its many-rayed yellow flowers are reflexed downwards.
- deeply notched lance-shaped leaves have irregular lobes and jagged margins.
- leaves and flower stalks all—every last one of them!—grow straight out of the ground directly from the taproot in a basal rosette configuration.
- reach a height of about 2-18 inches (5-45 cm.).
The descriptive name of the plant comes through the Middle English form of dandelion, dent-de-lioun, borrowed from the Old French dentdelion, from Medieval Latin dēns leōnis, literally, “tooth of the lion,” (from the sharply indented leaves of the plant) < Latin dēns, dent-, tooth [cf. dental, dentist] + Latin leōnis, genitive of leō, lion [cf. Leo, lion]. The word dandelion occurs in an herbal written in 1373, and in a proper name (Willelmus Dawndelyon) in a document dated 1363. Numerous folk names for this widely-used herb identification include bitterwort (taste), blow ball (and make a wish), cankerwort (natural remedy), clock flower (to “tell time”), doonheadclock, lion’s tooth, priest’s crown, pissabed (diuretic proterties), puffball, swine snort, wild endive, and yellow gowan (yellow kind of a common daisy).