This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Like the Hawkweeds, except the Mouse-ear Hawkweed, this is apparently quite a modern Composite. At the present day it is found in the Northern Temperate Zone in Europe, and N. Africa. In Great Britain it is found everywhere, except in Roxburgh, as far north as the Orkneys. In the Highlands one may find it growing at a height of 1600 ft., and it is native in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The aerial stems are scapes, or flowering stems. A characteristic feature is the long root, which is white, simple, and milky, hence the English and second Latin name. The radical leaves are prostrate, lying on the ground in a rosette, flat, oblong, and the leaf segments are turned back, rough, toothed, hairy, the hairs originating from minute points.