Although Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) is native to Asia and Europe, it is so hardy that it grows in all 50 states of the United States and most provinces of Canada and Mexico. The dandelion owes its name to the shape of its foliage, which resembles a lion’s teeth.
Dandelion is one of the most famous plants with distinctive features. It belongs to the Asteraceae family with over 1000 different species.
Chicory, another common weed, has foliage similar to dandelion. Still, chicory leaves have lobes that do not point towards the center of the plant base like dandelions do. Instead, the leaves form a vortex around the base of the dandelion.
They are between 2 and 16 inches long, most not exceeding 8 inches. The stems that bear the dandelion blossoms are bare and hollow, with milky sap that oozes out when picked. The flowers repeatedly bloom throughout the growing season from March into the fall months.
The yellow flowers are up to 2 inches wide and have small, modified leaves known as bracts at their base.