Brief SummaryRead full entry
DescriptionDandelions are well-known, robust weeds; the common name derives from the French 'dent de lion', meaning 'lion's tooth', which refers to the deeply toothed, deep green leaves (4), which are arranged in rosettes (5). The bright yellow flower heads are borne on hollow stalks (5), and the downy seed heads are familiar to children as dandelion clocks, which are used to 'tell the time' by the number of blows taken to remove the seeds (4). Vernacular names for the dandelion include 'wet-the-bed' and 'pissy-beds', which refer to the belief that just touching part of a dandelion can cause bed-wetting (4). As most British dandelions produce fruit without being fertilised (they are 'apomictic'), substantial problems arise with the taxonomy of these plants. This group is a 'complex' consisting of around 200 microspecies, and is typically treated as a species aggregate, denoted as 'Taraxacum officinale agg.' (1).