Dandelion. Leontodon taraxacum L.

Figure 46.—Dandelion (Leontodon taraxacum)

Synonym

Taraxacum officinale Weber.

Other Common Names

Blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, fortune teller, horse gowan, Irish daisy, yellow gowan, one-o'clock.

Habitat And Range

With the exception, possibly, of a few localities in the south, the dandelion is at home almost everywhere in the United States, being a familiar weed in meadows and waste places, and especially in lawns.

Description

The dandelion is so well known as a widely distributed weed that a detailed description of it is unnecessary. Its golden-yellow flowers, followed by the round, fluffy, seed heads, are a familiar sight in lawns, meadows, and along roadsides. The entire plant contains a white, milky juice. In spring the young tender leaves are much used for table greens. The plant has a large, thick, fleshy taproot which extends well into the ground.

Part Used

The root, collected late in summer and in fall when the milky juice has become thicker and more bitter. The dried root should not be kept too long, because it loses some of its medicinal virtues with age.