Taraxacum officinale

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Taraxacum officinale
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{{Speciesbox|image = Taraxacum_officinale_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-135.jpg|image_caption = Common dandelion1897 illustration from Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen|genus = Taraxacum|species = officinale
Carl Linnaeus>L.) Weber ex F.H. Wigg|synonyms =
  • Crepis taraxacum (L.) Stokes
  • Leontodon taraxacum L.
  • Leontodon vulgare Lam.
  • Taraxacum campylodes G.E.Haglund
  • Taraxacum dens-leonis Desf.
  • Taraxacum mexicanum DC.
  • Taraxacum retroflexum Lindl.
  • Taraxacum subspathulatum A.J. Richards
  • Taraxacum sylvanicum R. Doll
  • Taraxacum taraxacum (L.) H. Karst.
  • Taraxacum tenejapense A.J. Richards
  • Taraxacum vulgare Schrank
WORK=TROPICOS.ORG, HTTP://WWW.THEPLANTLIST.ORG/TPL1.1/RECORD/GCC-49669>TITLE=TARAXACUM CAMPYLODES G.E.HAGLUND — THE PLANT LIST,, }}Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion{{PLANTS|id=TAOF|taxon=Taraxacum officinale|accessdate=8 December 2015}} (often simply called "dandelion"), is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae (Compositae).It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T. officinale is considered a weed, especially in lawns and along roadsides, but it is sometimes used as a medical herb and in food preparation. Common dandelion is well known for its yellow flower heads that turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that disperse in the wind. These balls are called "blowballs"WEB,weblink blowball,, or "clocks" in both British and American English.WEB,weblink Definition of "blowball" - Collins English Dictionary,, WEB,weblink blowball: meaning and definitions,, WEB,weblink dandelion clock - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online,, 2010-07-03, WEB,weblink Clock dictionary definition - clock defined,,


Taraxacum officinale grows from generally unbranched taproots and produces one to more than ten stems that are typically {{convert|5|-|40|cm|in|abbr=on}} tall, but sometimes up to {{convert|70|cm|in|abbr=on}} tall. The stems can be tinted purplish, they are upright or lax, and produce flower heads that are held as tall or taller than the foliage. The foliage may be upright-growing or horizontally spreading; the leaves have petioles that are either unwinged or narrowly winged. The stems can be glabrous or sparsely covered with short hairs. Plants have milky latex and the leaves are all basal; each flowering stem lacks bracts and has one single flower head. The yellow flower heads lack receptacle bracts and all the flowers, which are called florets, are ligulate and bisexual. In many lineages, fruits are mostly produced by apomixis, notwithstanding the flowers are visited by many types of insects.JOURNAL, 10.1111/plb.12328, 25754608, Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers, Plant Biology, 18, 1, 56–62, 2015, Van Der Kooi, C. J., Pen, I., Staal, M., Stavenga, D. G., Elzenga, J. T. M.,weblink The leaves are {{convert|5|-|45|cm|in|abbr=on}} long and {{convert|1|-|10|cm|in|abbr=on}} wide, and are oblanceolate, oblong, or obovate in shape, with the bases gradually narrowing to the petiole. The leaf margins are typically shallowly lobed to deeply lobed and often lacerate or toothed with sharp or dull teeth.The calyculi (the cuplike bracts that hold the florets) are composed of 12 to 18 segments: each segment is reflexed and sometimes glaucous. The lanceolate shaped bractlets are in two series, with the apices acuminate in shape. The {{convert|14|-|25|mm|in|abbr=on}} wide involucres are green to dark green or brownish-green, with the tips dark gray or purplish. The florets number 40 to over 100 per head, having corollas that are yellow or orange-yellow in color.The fruits, {{cn span|called cypselae,|reason=They might actually be achenes, not cypselae. It appears to be disputed among botanists.|date=June 2019}} range in color from olive-green or olive-brown to straw-colored to grayish, they are oblanceoloid in shape and {{convert|2|-|3|mm|in|abbr=on}} long with slender beaks. The fruits have 4 to 12 ribs that have sharp edges. The silky pappi, which form the parachutes, are white to silver-white in color and around 6 mm wide. Plants typically have 24 or 40 pairs of chromosomes, while some have 16 or 32 pairs.


{{multiple image
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| image1 = Dandelion flower head (2008-05-04 pic02).jpg
| alt1 = Dandelion in bloom
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| alt2 = Ripe fruits
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North American dandelions

The taxonomy of the genus Taraxacum is complicated by apomictic and polyploid lineages, and the taxonomy and nomenclatural situation of Taraxacum officinale is not yet fully resolved. The taxonomy of this genus has been complicated by the recognition of numerous species, subspecies and microspecies. E.g. Rothmaler's flora of Germany recognizes roughly 70 microspecies.The plants introduced to North America are triploids that reproduce by obligate gametophytic apomixis Some authorities recognize three subspecies of Taraxacum officinale including:
  • Taraxacum officinale ssp. ceratophorum (Ledeb.) Schinz ex Thellung which is commonly called common dandelion, fleshy dandelion, horned dandelion or rough dandelion. It is native to Canada and the western US. Some sources list it as a species, Taraxacum ceratophorum.
  • Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale, which is commonly called common dandelion or wandering dandelion.
  • Taraxacum officinale ssp. vulgare (Lam.) Schinz & R. Keller, which is commonly called common dandelion.
Two of them have been introduced and established in Alaska and the third (ssp. ceratophorum) is native there.

European dandelions

Taraxacum officinale L. (dandelion) is a vigorous weed in Europe with diploid sexual populations in the southern regions and partially overlapping populations of diploid sexuals and triploid or tetraploid apomicts in the central and northern regions. File:Taraxacum officinale PID1200-1.jpg|thumb|Dandelion in Toško ČeloToško ČeloThese European dandelions can be divided into two groups. The first group reproduces sexually as do most seed plants. This group consists of dandelions that have a diploid set of chromosomes, and are sexually self-incompatible. Sexual reproduction involves a reduction of the somatic chromosome number by meiosis followed by a restoration of the somatic chromosome number by fertilization. Diploid dandelions have eight pairs of chromosomes, and meiosis is regular with normal pairing of homologous chromosomes at the metaphase I stage of meiosis.JOURNAL, van Baarlen P, van Dijk PJ, Hoekstra RF, de Jong JH, Meiotic recombination in sexual diploid and apomictic triploid dandelions (Taraxacum officinale L.), Genome, 43, 5, 827–35, October 2000, 11081973, 10.1139/gen-43-5-827, The second group consists of polyploid (mostly triploid) apomicts, meaning that both a viable embryo as well as a functional endosperm is formed without prior fertilization. In contrast to the sexual diploids, the pairing of chromosomes at metaphase I in triploid apomicts is strongly reduced. However pairing is still sufficient to allow some recombination between homologous chromosomes.Taraxacum officinale has many English common names (of which some are no longer in use), including blowball, lion's-tooth, cankerwort, milk-witch, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest's-crown and puff-ball; other common names include, faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine's snout, white endive, and wild endive.WEB,weblink Dandelion clock,, Carl Linnaeus named the species Leontodon taraxacum in 1753. The current genus name Taraxacum derives possibly from the Arabic Tharakhchakon, or from the Greek Tarraxos. The common name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, or "lion's tooth", in reference to the plant's jagged-edged leaves.


Taraxacum officinale is native to Europe and Asia,BOOK, Vít Bojňanský, Agáta Fargašová, Atlas of Seeds and Fruits of Central and East-European Flora: The Carpathian Mountains Region,weblink 29 October 2010, 2007, シュプリンガー・ジャパン株式会社, 978-1-4020-5361-0, 751–, and was originally imported to America as a food crop.BOOK, Tekiela, Stan, Wildflowers of Minnesota: Field Guide, 1999, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minnesota, 978-1-885061-63-8, 343, It is now naturalized throughout North America, southern Africa, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and India. It occurs in all 50 states of the US and most Canadian provinces. It is considered a noxious weed in some jurisdictions,JOURNAL, Stewart-Wade, S.M., S. Newmann, L.L.Collins, G.J. Boland, The biology of Canadian weeds. 117. Taraxacum officinale G.H. Weber ex Wiggers, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2002, 82, 4, 825–853, 10.4141/P01-010, and is considered to be a nuisance in residential and recreational lawns in North America.JOURNAL, Richardson, Jonathan, In praise of the archenemy, Audubon, 1985, 87, 37–39, It is also an important weed in agriculture and causes significant economic damage because of its infestation in many crops worldwide.File:WeilerVlbg7.jpg|thumb|left|A field of dandelions in Weiler, AustriaAustriaThe dandelion is a common colonizer of disturbed habitats, both from wind blown seeds and seed germination from the seed bank. The seeds remain viable in the seed bank for many years, with one study showing germination after nine years. This species is a somewhat prolific seed producer, with 54 to 172 seeds produced per head, and a single plant can produce more than 5,000 seeds a year. It is estimated that more than 97,000,000 seeds/hectare could be produced yearly by a dense stand of dandelions.WEB, Binning, Kim, Dandelion,weblink University of Wisconsin Weed Science Cooperative Extension, 2002, When released, the seeds can be spread by the wind up to several hundred meters from their source. The seeds are also a common contaminant in crop and forage seeds. The plants are adaptable to most soils and the seeds are not dependent on cold temperatures before they will germinate but they need to be within the top {{convert|2.5|cm|in|abbr=on|0}} of soil.T. officinale is food for the caterpillars of several Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), such as the tortrix moth Celypha rufana. See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on dandelions.Even though dandelion pollen is of poor nutritional quality for honey bees, they readily consume it, and it can be an important source of nutritional diversity in heavily managed monocultures such as that of blueberries.JOURNAL, Schmidt, Justin O., Thoenes, Steven C., Levin, M.D., Survival of honey bees, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae), fed various pollen sources, Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 1987, 80, 2, 176–183, 10.1093/aesa/80.2.176, JOURNAL, Girard, Mélissa, Chagnon, Madeleine, Fournier, Valérie, Pollen diversity collected by honey bees in the vicinity of Vaccinium spp. crops and its importance for colony development, Botany, 2012, 90, 7, 545–555, 10.1139/b2012-049, Honey bees have not been shown to lower their pollination activity on nearby fruit crops when foraging on dandelions.JOURNAL, Laverty, Terence, Hiemstra, Henry, Effects of flowering dandelions as a competitor to flowers of fruit trees for pollen-collecting honey bees in Ontario, The Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Ontario, 1998, 129, 3–8, While not in bloom, this species is sometimes confused with others, such as Chondrilla juncea, that have similar basal rosettes of foliage.JOURNAL, The biology of Canadian weeds. 117. Taraxacum officinale G. H. Weber ex Wiggers, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2002-10-01, 0008-4220, 825–853, 82, 4, 10.4141/P01-010, S. M., Stewart-Wade, S., Neumann, L. L., Collins, G. J., Boland, Another plant, sometimes referred to as fall dandelion, is very similar to dandelion, but produces "yellow fields" later.

Fossil record

T. officinale has a fossil record that goes back to glacial and interglacial times in Europe.WEB,weblink Taraxacum officinale complex (dandelion),, 2019-06-17,


{{nutritionalvalue | name=Dandelion greens, raw| water=85.6 g| kJ=188| protein=2.7 g| fat=0.7 g| carbs=9.2 g| fiber=3.5 g| sugars=0.71 g| calcium_mg=187| iron_mg=3.1| magnesium_mg=36| phosphorus_mg=66| potassium_mg=397| sodium_mg=76| zinc_mg=0.41| manganese_mg=0.342| vitC_mg=35| thiamin_mg=0.19| riboflavin_mg=0.26| niacin_mg=0.806| pantothenic_mg=0.084| vitB6_mg=0.251| folate_ug=27| choline_mg=35.3| vitA_ug=508| betacarotene_ug=5854| lutein_ug=13610| vitE_mg=3.44| vitK_ug=778.4| source_usda = 1| note=Link to USDA Database entry}}While the dandelion is considered a weed by most gardeners and especially lawn owners, the plant has several culinary uses. The specific name officinalis refers to its value as a medicinal herb, and is derived from the word opificina, later officina, meaning a workshop or pharmacy. The flowers are used to make dandelion wine, the greens are used in salads, the roots have been used to make a coffee substitute (when baked and ground into powder) and the plant was used by Native Americans as a food and medicine.BOOK, Clarke, Charlotte Bringle, Edible and useful plants of California, 1977, University of California Press, Berkeley, 978-0-520-03261-3, 191,


File:Plate of Wehani rice with sauteed dandelion greens.jpg|thumb|left|Plate of sauteed dandelion greens, with Wehani riceWehani riceDandelions are harvested from the wild or grown on a small scale as a leaf vegetable. The leaves (called dandelion greens) can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. They are probably closest in character to mustard greens. Usually the young leaves and unopened buds are eaten raw in salads, while older leaves are cooked. Raw leaves have a slightly bitter taste. Dandelion salad is often accompanied with hard-boiled eggs. The leaves are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and iron, carrying more iron and calcium than spinach.{{unreliable medical source|date=February 2017}}Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine, for which there are many recipes. Most of these are more accurately described as "dandelion-flavored wine," as some other sort of fermented juice or extract serves as the main ingredient.Gibbons, E. Stalking the Wild Asparagus. David McKay, New York. 1962. It has also been used in a saison ale called Pissenlit (the French word for dandelion, literally meaning "wet the bed") made by Brasserie Fantôme in Belgium. Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom.Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. In Silesia and other parts of Poland and the world, dandelion flowers are used to make a honey substitute syrup with added lemon (so-called May-honey). Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a non-caffeinated coffee substitute.

Herbal medicine

Dandelion has been used in traditional medicine in Europe, North America, and China.JOURNAL, Katrin Schütz, Reinhold Carle, Andreas Schieber, yes, 2006, Taraxacum—a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 107, 3, 313–323, 10.1016/j.jep.2006.07.021, 16950583,


Yellow dye colors can be obtained from the flowers but little color can be obtained from the roots of the plant.


Taraxacum is derived from the Arabic word (or ) for a bitter herb.Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|9780521866453}} (hardback), {{ISBN|9780521685535}} (paperback). pp 279, 371 It may be related to the Greek word ταρασσω (tarasso) meaning to disturb.{{verification needed|date=April 2018}}Officinale means 'of the apothecaries' or 'medicinal'.{{Elucidate|date=June 2019}}


Taraxalisin is a serine proteinase found in the latex of dandelion roots.JOURNAL, 10521720, 1999, Bogacheva, A. M., A new subtilisin-like proteinase from roots of the dandelion Taraxacum officinale Webb S. L, Biochemistry. Biokhimiia, 64, 9, 1030–7, Rudenskaya, G. N., Preusser, A, Tchikileva, I. O., Dunaevsky, Y. E., Golovkin, B. N., Stepanov, V. M., Rudenskaya et al. (1998) found that taraxalisin hydrolyzes a chromogenic peptide substrate Glp-Ala-Ala-Leu-pNA optimally at pH 8.0.JOURNAL, Rudenskaya, G. N., Bogacheva, A. M., Preusser, A., Kuznetsova, A. V., Dunaevsky YaE, null, Golovkin, B. N., Stepanov, V. M., 1998-10-23, Taraxalisin -- a serine proteinase from dandelion Taraxacum officinale Webb s.l, FEBS Letters, 437, 3, 237–240, 0014-5793, 9824298, 10.1016/s0014-5793(98)01243-5, Maximal activity of the proteinase in the roots is attained in April, at the beginning of plant development after the winter period.


WEB,weblink PLANTS Profile for Taraxacum officinale ssp. ceratophorum (common dandelion) | USDA PLANTS,, 2011-10-23, WEB,weblink Common Dandelion,, 2012-07-20, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-06-23, Sztabowa, Wera (1990). Krupnioki i moczka, czyli gawędy o śląskiej kuchni. Wydawnictwo Śląsk, Katowice, {{ISBN|83-216-0935-X}}.}}

Further reading

  • BOOK, Blanchan, Neltje, Wild Flowers Worth Knowing, 2005, Project Gutenberg, Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, 978-0-665-98934-6, Wild Flowers Worth Knowing, Neltje Blanchan,
  • BOOK, Everitt, J.H., Lonard, R.L., Little, C.R., Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico, Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, 2007, 978-0-89672-614-7, {{ISBN|0-89672-614-2}}
  • BOOK, Köhler, Franz Eugen, Köhler's Medicinal Plants, 1887, Gustav Pabst, Köhler's Medicinal Plants, Franz Eugen Köhler,
  • JOURNAL, Vorobyev, G., Alyabyev, A., Ogorodnikova, T., Khamidullin, A., Vorobyev, V., Adaptive properties of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Wigg. s.l.) under conditions of air pollution by motor vehicle exhausts, Russian Journal of Ecology, April 5, 2014, 45, 2, 90–94, 10.1134/S1067413614020106,
  • JOURNAL, Kenny, O., Brunton, N. P., Walsh, D., Characterisation of Antimicrobial Extracts from Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale), PTR. Phytotherapy Research (2015), April 2015, 29, 4, 526–532, 10.1002/ptr.5276, 25644491,

External links

{{Wikiversity-bc|Taraxacum officinale}}{{Commons category|Taraxacum officinale}}{{Wikispecies}} {{Taxonbar|from=Q131219}}{{Authority control}}

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