Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Taraxacum officinale, Common Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale, Common DandelionTaraxacum officinale, Common DandelionTaraxacum officinale, Common DandelionTaraxacum officinale, Common DandelionTaraxacum officinale, Common Dandelion

Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Common Name: Common Dandelion

Also Called: Blowball, Faceclock, Dandelion (Spanish: Diente de León, Achicoria Amarga, Amargón, Moraja)

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Taraxacum kok-saghyz, Taraxacum. vulgare, Taraxacum officinale ssp. vulgare, Taraxacum palustre var. vulgare)

Status: Introduced from Europe

Duration: Perennial, taproot

Size: Up to 1 foot

Growth Form: Herb/forb; basal rosette; low growing with erect hollow flowering stalk, milky juice.

Leaves: Bright green; basal rosette; variable length up to 10 inch, margins pinnately divided with long and narrow lobes, end lobe larger than the others, margins also toothed.

Flower Color: Bright golden-yellow ligulate medium size flower heads; to 1.5 inches, ligules toothed on outer ends; solitary flower head on hollow leafless stems of various length (scape); seed-heads are classic globular fluffy balls of soft parachute like seeds.

Flowering Season: April to September but may bloom throughout the year in Arizona.

Elevation: To 9,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Lower and upper deserts, pine and chaparral communities, sunny open places, riparian areas, meadows, lawns, gardens and roadsides.

Recorded Range: Throughout North America and Baja California and northern, central and southern Mexico. Throughout the eastern 2/3 of Arizona in various habitat types.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Taraxacum officinale.

U.S. Weed Information: Taraxacum officinale is listed in: Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: a field guide, Weeds of the Northeast, Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains, Weeds of the United States and Canada, and Weeds of the West. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: Taraxacum officinale is listed on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List.

Genus Information: 9 species in Taraxacum throughout North America. 3 species in Arizona, 1 native species; the Harp Dandelion, Taraxacum lyratum is found in Coconino County. 1 subspecies of Taraxacum officinale in Arizona.

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale, Common Dandelion.

Comments: Common dandelion is a common introduced species from Europe with a small but attractive flower. It can be an aggressive invasive weed in lawns and gardens and difficult to remove. Wine is made from the flowers and its leaves are favored by many as greens for salads while the roots are thought to have medicinal properties are also used in salads.

Many ethno-botanical uses have been identified including a treatment for sore throats and stomach pain and eaten as greens to purify the blood. See the full species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 07/18/2012, updated 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
Luc Brouillet, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Taraxacum, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 07/18/2012)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,