Monday, October 13, 2008

Common Dandelion

The common dandelion is extremely common in our yard! It's scientific name is Taraxacum officinale. In our area, it only blooms in spring and summer so I was only able to get a picture of the foliage. Most of you reading have probably seen the common dandelion at some time or another though because it can be found in all areas of the world that have a temperate climate!

The common dandelion is not native to North American. It is use to be found only in Europe and Asia, but it was spread rapidly to new places as they were settled by Europeans. It was not spread intentionally. The seeds are small and can get stuck in all sorts of places and one plant can produce lots and lots of seeds that can be blown far starting other colonies.

Although most people consider the common dandelion a weed, it is a useful plant. The young leaves in the spring make nice additions to salads, and the older leaves can be cooked with a taste similar to mustard greens. The flowers make a pretty yellow-green dye. I personally think the flowers are beautiful and seeing the first dandelion flower of the year always lets me know that spring has arrived!

1. poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
2. red maple (Acer rubrum)
3. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
4. staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
5. common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

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