Generations of children have helped make dandelions one of Britain's most common weeds. Blowing the delicate and beautiful seed heads to 'tell the time' is a very effective method of dispersal. Its spreading habit and long root makes the common dandelion in particular the bane of gardeners, yet the lush flowers attract bees that pollinate crops.
Dandelions haven't always been troublesome weeds. In Victorian times they were cultivated with care and eaten by the wealthy in sandwiches and salads. Even today the leaves are used as cure-alls and the flowers made into wine. There are many dandelion species including the most familiar common and red-seeded varieties.
Scientific name: Taraxacum
The following habitats are found across the Dandelions distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Taraxacum (pron.: /təˈræksəkʉm/) is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North and South America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion (/ˈdændɨlaɪ.ən/ DAN-di-ly-ən, from French dent-de-lion, meaning "lion's tooth") is given to members of the genus, and like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.
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