This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(i. e., dent de lion, French for lion's tooth; referring to the teeth on the leaves). The vernacular of Tardxacum officinale, Weber, a stemless perennial or biennial plant of the Compositae, a common weed, much collected in spring for "greens" and in improved forms sometimes grown for that purpose.
Dandelion is native to Europe and Asia, but is naturalized in all temperate countries. On the Rocky Mountains and in the high North are forms that are apparently indigenous. A floret from the head of a dandelion is shown in Fig. 1218. The ovary is at e; pappus (answering to calyx) at a; ray of corolla at c; ring of anthers at b; styles at d. The constricted part at e elongates in fruit, raising the pappus on a long stalk, as shown in Fig. 1219; and thus is the balloon of the dandelion formed. A dandelion plant, with its scattering fruits, is shown in Fig. 1220. Another species of dandelion is also naturalized in this country, but is not so common; it is the red-seeded dandelion (T. erythrospermum, Andrz.), with red fruits, not reflexed invo-lucral scales, and shorter beak.
The dandelion is much prized for "greens." For this purpose it is cultivated in parts of Europe; also about Boston and in some other localities in this country. There are several improved large-leaved varieties, mostly of French origin. Some of these named forms have beautiful curled leaves. Seeds are sown in the spring, and the crop is gathered the same fall or the following spring,-usually in the spring in this country. Commonly the seeds are sown where the plants are to stand, although the plantlets may be transplanted. The plants should stand about 1 foot apart each way, and a good crop will cover the land completely when a year old. Sandy or light loamy soil is preferred. The crop is harvested and marketed like spinach. The leaves or heads are often blanched by tying them up, covering with sand or a flower-pot. The plants are sometimes grown more closely in beds, and frames are put over them to force them. Roots are sometimes removed from the field to the hotbed or house for forcing. When treated like chicory (which see), the roots will produce a winter salad very like barbe de capucin.
Roots of dandelion dug in fall and dried are sold for medicinal purposes in drug-stores under the name of Taraxacum. L H, B.