Introduced. Perennial. Propagates by seeds and by rootstocks. Time of bloom: Late June to October. Seed-time: August to November. Range: Newfoundland to western Ontario and Michigan, southward to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Habitat: Fields, meadows, roadsides, and waste places.
Before flowering this plant looks very like the common Dandelion, the long, smooth, or slightly hairy tufted leaves having similar backward turned, sharp-pointed lobes or "lion's teeth." But instead of a taproot it has short, thick rootstocks, each of which may send up a tuft of leaves and a flowering stalk; so that the weed tends to grow in patches and rapidly chokes out the grass in lawns and meadows.
Stems six inches to two feet tall, smooth, slender, branching, thickened at summit, with small, pointed, scale-like leaves. Heads with many tooth-tipped bright yellow rays, more than an inch broad, growing singly at the ends of the slim, naked branches. Achenes brown, nearly a quarter-inch long, ridged lengthwise, not beaked like the Dandelion, but having a yellowish white pappus of one funnel-shaped row of plumelike bristles. (Fig. 366.)
Fig. 366. - Fall Dandelion (Leontodon autumnalis). X 1/4.
The rootstocks are shallow and horizontal in their growth, and plowing the rankly infested pasture or meadow kills them in one season as they decay with the sod. Small areas may be removed by deep hoe-cutting. Flowering stalks should be cut in their first bloom, in order that none of the plumed achenes may be dispersed by the wind.