Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Dandelion

About

Counting down the clock as you blow the fluffy seeds from the head of a Common Dandelion is a familiar game to each and every one of us. These 'dandelion clocks' can carpet a grassland in fluffy white pillows straight after the bright yellow, gaudy flowers have already coloured it gold. Common Dandelions grow in all kinds of grasslands from lawns to roadside verges, pastures to traditional meadows.

How to identify

The Common Dandelion is actually a variety of forms or 'microspecies' and there are also a number of other Dandelion species, so identification can be tricky. Nevertheless, look for the familiar yellow flower heads displaying closely packed florets (tiny flowers). The leaves of the Common Dandelion are lobed and spoon-shaped, and the stem exudes a milky white sap if it is broken. When it fruits, the seeds appear with their downy, white parachutes, and form a globular, packed seedhead.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Many of our so-called 'weeds' are beneficial to wildlife, providing food for nectar-loving insects and shelter for minibeasts. Try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of Common Dandelions and longer grasses in your lawn and Stinging Nettles near the compost heap, and see who comes to visit... To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Dandelion
Latin name
Taraxacum officinale
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 35cm
Conservation status
Common.