Ontario Weeds: Dandelion

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale Weber,

Other Names: pissenlit, dent-de-lion, pissenlit officinal

Family: Composite or Aster Family (Compositae

General Description: Perennial, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Dandelion.  Flowers.


Dandelion.  Leaves.

Dandelion. A. Plant. G. 1 "seed".

Dandelion. A. Plant. G. 1 "seed".

 

B-F. Variations in shape and lobing of leaves on different plants.
B-F. Variations in shape and lobing of leaves on different plants.

 

B-F. Variations in shape and lobing of leaves on different plants.
B-F. Variations in shape and lobing of leaves on different plants.

Stems & Roots: Leaves in a basal rosette on a thick, deeply penetrating taproot, elongated, deeply and irregularly lobed along each side or sometimes just shallowly toothed, the amount and shape of lobing or toothing being extremely variable from one plant to another.

Flowers & Fruit: Flower heads showy, bright yellow, 3.2-5cm (1¼-2in.) across, borne singly on long, smooth, leafless, unbranched, hollow stalks which arise from among the rosette leaves; only ray (strap-shaped) florets present; outer row of involucral bracts short and spreading or bent down; seed heads white, more or less spherical, 3.5-5cm (1½-2in.) across; seeds long, slender with a slender beak tipped with a tuft of white hair (pappus or "parachute"); whole plant with sticky white juice. Flowers from early spring to late autumn.

Habitat: Dandelion occurs throughout Ontario in virtually every kind of habitat, from openings in deep woods to cultivated fields, from rocky hillsides to fertile gardens, and lawns.

Similar Species: It is distinguished from other plants with milky juice and lobed or divided leaves in rosette stage by the soft texture and irregular lobing of leaves, the absence of prickles on margins or midribs, the smooth or softly hairy leaf surfaces, and a deeply penetrating taproot. Flowering plants are distinguished by their large yellow flower heads with only ray (strap-shaped) florets and borne singly on long, unbranched, leafless, hollow stalks which arise from among the rosette leaves, these followed by white, spherical seed heads up to 5cm (2in.) in diameter.

Related Links

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2002
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003