They may be totally unwelcome in lawn or in garden, but on a mild March morning when the sunny south bank is starred with bright yellow dandelions, they are as pleasant a sight as any harbinger of spring. They usually arc the first bouquet carried in chubby fists to doting mothers.
Taraxacum officinale Weber.
Early spring Lawns. fields.
The dandelion came over from Europe with folk who knew it back home in the old Country, where dandelions were planted as part of the gardes to provide salads and boiled greens, wine, and tonic, over a long period of time. In America the seeds fluffed away from the hollow, milky-juiced stalks and settled everywhere so that in a short time the dandelion had become naturalized in America.
It grows from a long, deep, white taproot which has great pulling power, which makes it extremely difficult to yank from the ground. The root, leaves, and flower stems are full of an acrid and sticky white milk which exudes wherever the plant is broken or bruised. The leaves grow in a basal rosette almost flat upon the ground, and are cut in jagged teeth.
The hollow flower stalks are downy, pale, and rubbery. Each is topped with a flat bright green hud which opens to show a whole colony or family of bright yellow flowerets. The central flowers in the head produce pollen and pistils. The stamens come forth first and pollen is carried by insects to other dandelion-. Then the pistils push up and receive pollen from other flowers. But if no insects come to fertilize the pistils, they receive pollen from stamens in their own flower head. Even if none of this remains, it is possible for the dandelion to make seeds without being pollinated at all.