Fall Dandelion (Leontodon Autumnalis) (European) is a small dandelion, naturalized from Europe and common in the Eastern States during Fall, or from the latter part of July. The leaves, tufted at.the base of the flower scape, are long and narrow and have blunt teeth. The flower scape is long and slender and usually forks near the summit, bearing two or three flower heads, rarely only one; the scape attains heights of 7 to 18 inches. The upper parts of the stem are covered with minute, scaly bracts set at intervals of perhaps every half inch. The flower stalk is not hollow like that of the common dandelion, but is solid. The flower heads are large and showy, composed of numerous, golden-yellow, toothed, strap-shaped rays, set in a small involucre, scarcely imbricated but with several bractlets at the base. It grows in fields and along roadsides and is quite common from Newfoundland to Mich, and south to Pa.
Dwarf Dandelion; Cynthia (Krigia Virginica) is a tiny little plant as compared to the common dandelion. The leaves are all basal on rather long petioles; they are coarsely and sharply, or lacinately, toothed. Numerous unbranching, slender flower scapes rise from these tufts of basal leaves, each bearing at the summit a little golden-rayed flower resembling a miniature dandelion. When the flower heads have matured, the scape lengthens and fluffy parachutes, each attached to tiny seed, form into filmy globes that takes the places of the flowers until the winds bear them away to new fields.
Cynthia is a very common native species and is found blooming from April until July in dry fields, open woods or sandy soil, from southern Canada to the Gulf.
A. Common Dandelion.
B. Red-seeded Dandelion.
Common Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) although an immigrant to our land, has extended its range from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and is as well, or better, known as any other wild flower that we have. As everyone knows, its green, jagged leaves form a staple article of food and can be purchased in markets in Spring at so much per peck. This species, with its large, flat rosette of leaves and bright sunny flowers needs no description; it is well shown on the accompanying plate. All parts contain a bitter milky juice that exudes freely whenever the plant is broken. It is most interesting to children when the flowers have gone to seed and are replaced by the round fluffy heads. Many childish games and fancies depend upon the number of seeds left in the "puff ball" after a good strong "blow." The stems, slit at the ends, make little horns and are also used for, drinking purposes and for "blowing soap bubbles."
Those who try to keep a lawn in condition, regard the dandelion as a great pest. Its persistence is shown, when we may find the flowers sunnily smiling at us, the day after the grass has been cut as closely as possible with a mower. The dandelion blooms most abundantly during the Spring months but may also be found during every other month, even in Winter. The name dandelion, of course, refers to the jagged edge of the leaves.