Taraxacum officinale – Common Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale - Common Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale - Common Dandelion

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale

Common Name: Common Dandelion

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This common, naturalized lawn weed is native to Eurasia.

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian. It grows in lawns, gardens, irrigated fields, and riparian areas in the desert and uplands and in grassy areas in the mountains.

Flower Color: Yellow

Flowering Season: Spring (desert and uplands), Summer (mountains)

Height: To 1 foot (30 cm) tall

Description: The flower heads are up to 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) across and have bright yellow, strap-shaped rays. The flower heads are followed by feathery, white, spherical seed heads with parachute-like seeds that disperse in the wind. The leaves are green, in a basal rosette, and lanceolate in shape with deeply cut, triangular, reversed lobes. The plants are low-growing, almost stemless, and have a thick, stout taproot, making them difficult to pull up.

The similar Common Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a much taller plant with a conspicuous main stem. Fendler's Desertdandelion (Malacothrix fendleri) has coarser flower petals, sparser, grayer leaves, and it grows in dryer areas.

Special Characteristics

Edible – The young, early season leaves, the flowers, and the mature taproots are all edible. Although somewhat bitter, the leaves can be eaten either raw or cooked. The flowers can be used to make tea or dandelion wine. The roots can be dried and roasted to make a coffee substitute.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Taraxacum F.H. Wigg. – dandelion
Species: Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg. – common dandelion

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map