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common name: Dandelion
synonyms: Taraxacum vulgare
red & green
full sun, part shade
dry soil, moist soil, wet/waterlogged soil, clay soil, sandy soil, coastal
preferred soil pH: neutral-alkaline
minimum temp: -29°C
USDA zone: 5 to 9
Very common, well-known wildflower and garden weed. Loose rosettes of deeply lobed pinnatisect leaves grow from a deep fleshy taproot. Hollow stalks bear bright yellow flowerheads that later develop into round downy seed heads. Often apomictic, producing seed without fertilisation. Flowers mostly in spring but sporadically at almost any time. The whole plant has a milky white sap.
There are many "micro-species", with some local variation in form, but they are usually treated as an aggregate species.
Very adaptable but thrives particularly well in moist rich soil that has been disturbed.
From seed, prolific self-seeder. Broken sections of root will also re-grow readily.
Edible both cooked and raw, with a high content of vitamins A, B and C. The roots have been used as a coffee substitute.
Long tradition as a medicinal herb.
Regarded as a weed, but spring grasslands and verges would be much poorer without them.
Very widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, extremely common in Britain and Northern Europe.