This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
[Taraxacum (Hall.) Ludwig, Def. 175. 1760.]
Perennial acaulescent herbs, with basal tufted pinnatifid or sinuate-dentate leaves, and large heads of yellow flowers, solitary, or very rarely 2 or 3 together at the ends of naked hollow scapes. Involucre oblong or campanulate, its inner bracts in 1 series, nearly equal, slightly united at the base, the outer of several series of shorter somewhat spreading ones, often reflexed at maturity. Receptacle flat, naked. Rays truncate and 5-toothed at the summit. Anthers sagittate at the base. Style-branches slender, obtusish. Achenes oblong or linear-fusiform, 4-5-angled, 5-10-nerved, roughened or spinulose, at least above, tapering into a very slender beak. Pappus of numerous filiform unequal simple persistent bristles. [Greek, lion's-tooth.]
About 20 species, natives of the northern hemisphere and southern South America. Type species: Leontodon Taraxacum L.
Outer involucral bracts reflexed; achenes greenish brown, the beak 2-3 times their length.
1. L. Taraxacum.
Outer involucral bracts spreading or.ascending.
Achenes greenish, the beak 2-3 times their length.
2. L. latilobum.
Achenes red, the beak not more than twice their length.
3. L. erythrospermum.
Leontodon Taraxacum L. Sp. Pl. 798. 1753. T. officinale Weber, Prim. Pl. Hoist. 56. 1786. T. Dens-leonis Desf. Fl. Atlant. 2: 228. 1800. T. Taraxacum Karst. Deutsch. Fl. 1138. 1880-83.
Root thick, deep, often 10' long, bitter. Leaves oblong to spatulate in outline, usually pubescent, at least when young, acute or obtuse, pinnatifid, sinuate-dentate or rarely nearly entire, rather succulent, 3'-10' long, 1/2'-2 1/2' wide, narrowed into petioles; scape erect, 2-18' high; head 1-2' broad; containing very numerous golden-yellow flowers (150-200), inner bracts of the involucre linear or linear-lanceolate, the outer similar, shorter, not glaucous, reflexed, all acute; achenes greenish-brown, fusiform, spinulose above, narrowed into a filiform beak 2-3 times their length, which support the copious white pappus, the fruiting mass of which becomes globose when ripe.
In fields and waste places, naturalized as a weed from Europe. Also in Asia and distributed as a weed in all civilized parts of the world. Jan-Dec. Called also lion's-tooth, canker.wort, milk-witch- or yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monk's-head, priest's-crown, puff-ball. Arnica.
Taraxacum latilobum DC. Prodr. 7: 146. 1838.
Similar to the preceding but scape lower, 2'-7 high. Leaves sinuately lobed with broadly triangular lobes, but less deeply so than in L. Taraxacum and rarely as far as half way to the midrib, or often merely dentate or sub-entire; heads smaller, or about 1' wide; bracts fewer, the outer broadly ovate, appressed or merely spreading.
In moist places, Newfoundland and Labrador to Quebec. Europe. Summer. Rocky Mountain and northwestern plants formerly regarded as included in this species are now considered distinct.
Taraxacum erythrospermum Andrz. in Bess. Enum. Pl Vilh. 75. 1821.
Similar to the two preceding species, the leaves glabrous, very deeply runcinate-pinnatifid or pin-nately divided into narrower triangular-lanceolate usually long-pointed segments; scapes glabrous, or pubescent above; heads rarely more than 1' broad, 70-90-flowered; bracts of the involucre glaucous, the outer lanceolate, spreading or ascending, the inner linear, longer, each usually with an appendage just below the tip; flowers sulphur-yellow, the outer rays purplish without; achenes narrower, bright red, or red-brown, spin-ulose above, the filiform beak not more than twice their length; pappus dirty white.
In fields and woods, Maine and Vermont to New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Alberta, Illinois and Wyoming. Naturalized from Europe. April-June. April-June.