Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelions are a perennial weed with a large tap root and distinctive basal rosette of leaves. Its leaves have a spatula shaped tip with wavy, wide toothed margins. The flower stalks and leaves exude a milky sap when cut. Stems will elongate out of the basal rosette that will contain the flower heads. The flower heads consist of bright yellow ray flowers when pollinating. After pollination seeds form on the flower head and create a white globe structure of feathery pappus which aids in seed dispersal.
Dandelions are wide spread and normally found in lawns, ditches, and gardens. And they always seem to be readily available for the picking in t-ball outfields. Luckily with being wide spread we have a readily available food source no matter where we go. The leaves, roots and flowers are all edible. Dandelion was originally introduced as a salad green, and some specialty food markets will sell bunches of dandelion leaves. As with most weeds, the younger the better. Older leaves will have a bitter taste. And believe it or not dandelion leaves and flower heads have more beta-carotene than carrots, so eat them up!
My parting question for you is, "Do you like butter?" #wotd#weedscience#weedscientist#weednerd#eattheweeds