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 Taraxacum subsp. var.  Dandelion
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Asteraceae > Taraxacum var. ,

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Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide.[1] Both species are edible in their entirety.[2][3] They are named for their sharp, serrated leaves that resemble lion's teeth.[4] The common name dandelion (pronounced /ˈdændɨlaɪ.ən/, Template:Respell) 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.[5]

The species of Taraxacum are tap-rooted biennial or perennial herbaceous plants, native to temperate areas of the Old World.

The leaves are 5–25 cm long or longer, simple and basal, entire or lobed, forming a rosette above the central taproot. The flower heads are yellow to orange colored, and are open in the daytime but closed at night. The heads are borne singly on a hollow stem (scape) which rises 4–75 cm[6] above the leaves and exudes a milky sap (latex) when broken. A rosette may produce several flowering stems at a time. The flower heads are 2–5 cm in diameter and consists entirely of ray florets. The flower heads mature into a spherical "clocks"[7] containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Each achene is attached to a pappus of fine hairs, which enable wind-aided dispersal over long distances.

The flower head is surrounded by bracts (sometimes mistakenly called sepals) in two series. The inner bracts are erect until the seeds mature, then flex downward to allow the seeds to disperse; the outer bracts are always reflexed downward. Some species drop the "parachute" from the achenes; the hair-like parachutes are called pappus, and they are modified sepals. Between the pappus and the achene, there is a stalk called a beak, which elongates as the fruit matures. The beak breaks off from the achene quite easily, separating the seed from the parachute.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Taraxacum (name probably associated with supposed medicinal properties). Leontodon of some authors. Compositae. Dandelion. Low nearly or quite stemless herbs of cold and temperate regions, mostly of the northern hemisphere. Distinguished by having large many-fld. ligulate yellow heads solitary on naked and hollow scapes; involucre with one inner series of erect narrow bracts and outer calyx-like spreading sometimes reflexed bracts; pappus simple and capillary, borne on a slender beak terminating a fusiform elongated angled achene: fls. opening in sunshine. The plants are exceedingly variable and there are consequently great differences of opinion as to the number of species. Bentham & Hooker would reduce them to about 6, and others would retain 25 or more. The common dandelion is T. officinale, Weber, known also as T. Dens-leonis, Desf. It varies immensely in stature and form of lvs. From the common dandelion it differs in having smaller sulfur-yellow heads, smaller and very deeply cut lvs., outer involucral scales not reflexed and somewhat glaucous: achenes red or red-brown and shorter beaked: pappus dirty white. It is known to occur in New England, N. Y., Pa. and W.; probably naturalized from Eu. CH

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