Common Dandelion is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in grassland, gardens and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 50cm.
Dandelion takes its name from the French 'dent-de-lion' meaning 'lion's tooth'. This alludes to the jagged lobes of the Dandelion leaf. Although part of the Daisy family, the composite flowerheads of the Dandelion do not have the small central 'disc' florets found in the daisy and are made up entirely of long-petalled 'ray' florets. The single petal of each ray floret is slightly curled lengthways and is notched at the tip. Once pollinated, the flowerhead gives way to a spherical seedhead, often know as a 'dandelion clock'. Each ray florets is now replaced by a barbed seed (to help catch in fur or feathers, for animal dispersal), with a fluffy 'parachute' (for wind dispersal.)
Botanic classification and naming: Common Dandelion is a member of the Daisy (Asteraceae) family. The genus name
'Taraxacum' identifies the plant as a Dandelion and its species name 'officinale' means 'herbal medicinal plant'.
Benefits: The roots provide food for caterpillars of the Orange Swift moth, Muslin Moth caterpillars feed on its leaves, while its flowers are visited by the Small Yellow Underwing moth. Dandelion also attracts seed-eating birds.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.