Identifying Dandelion {Herbal Primer Series}

For the past couple of years, I’ve been observing the many different plants in my yard, and have become more interested in one very common plant in particular—the dandelion. Having been one who relies mostly on my own reading skills and hands to learn what I need to know, I briefly spent some time trying my hand at identifying dandelion, but to no avail. There are just so many different varieties from the Asteracea family, calendula for one, and I would prefer to be sure which one I’m dealing with before I eat it, use it for medicine, or feed it to my animals.

Identifying-Dandelion Photo Courtesy of Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily

I *thought* I had been growing quite a large dandelion plant in my yard, but when I finally got around to asking a friend about it, a dandelion-growing friend told me that what I had in fact wasn’t dandelion, but she wasn’t sure what it was. I asked about it on a Facebook herbal group, but couldn’t seem to get a definite answer. As a matter of fact, they asked me to come back and tell them what it was after I googled it! (Needless to say, I left that group!) I decided to go it alone once again by googling the phrase “dandelion look-alikes” since that is what seems to be what I have in my yard. It turns out that I’ve been mistaking what I believe is wild lettuce for dandelion for years.

How to Identify Dandelion

But getting back to dandelion, there are two very distinctive characteristics to dandelions (amongst others, I’m sure) which will enable you to identify them effectively:

  • rosette of coarsely-toothed leaves
  • from the center of the leaves grow long, unbranched flower stalks containing, if in bloom, one yellow composite flower made up of many tiny flowers,

or

  • if it has gone to seed, a ball of seeds that you can scatter through the air by blowing lightly on it

HERBALPRIMER1

Thank you for reading my first entry on my new series, Herbal Primer, in which I will be sharing with you things that I am learning about various herbs and medicinal plants through my own personal study, as well as my study through Herbal Academy of New England’s Intermediate Herbal Course. It is my pleasure to bring this information to you as I learn it, however, if you are interested in finding out more about the Intermediate Herbal Course, click on the graphic above.

Sources:
The Asteracea Family by Susun Weed
The Reader’s Digest Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs

 

Do you grow dandelion? How do you use it?

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of herbs, click over to the Herbal Academy of New England and sign up for their Intermediate Herbal Course (click course photo below). It’s been fabulous for me, and I’ve learned quite a lot in the past months. I highly recommend it! Also, I’d like to invite you to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any of my new Herbal Primer series, where I will be sharing all about the herbs, and recipes you can make with them.

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