The Dandelion (Taraxacum dens leonis) is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. The name originated from the French language, dent-de-lion, meaning lion’s tooth.
It is native to Asia, Europe, and North America, but is common worldwide.
The leaves are 5-25 centimetres (2-10 inches) long. The leaves and stem exude a white, milky latex liquid when broken.
It has small, single, ray florets clustered in a flower head on a single hollow stem, called a scape. The flowers are yellow to orange. They open during the daytime and close at night.
The flower heads are 2-5 centimetres (up to 2 inches) in diameter.
After flowering, the flower head dries up and the petals and stamens drop off. A white parachute-like ball opens to a full sphere – globe-shaped – on top of the stem. The mature seeds are attached to the globe and easily fall off to glide in the wind to disseminate the seeds.
Photographed in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 2016 and Paris, France, April 2023.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls