Dandelion, Lion's Tooth, Bitterwort, Chicoria, Fortune-Teller, Wild Endive, Puffball

Taraxacum officinale

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Taraxacum (ta-RAKS-uh-kum) (Info)
Species: officinale (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-lee) (Info)
Synonym:Leontodon taraxacum
Synonym:Taraxacum dens-leonis
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Malvern, Arkansas

Berkeley, California

Highgrove, California

Redwood City, California

San Mateo, California

Aurora, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Lamar, Colorado

Springfield, Colorado

Ellendale, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Daytona Beach, Florida

Washington, Illinois

Coralville, Iowa

Yale, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Benton, Kentucky

Lewisburg, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Cumberland, Maryland

Fort George G Meade, Maryland

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Milton, Massachusetts

Detroit, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Marietta, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Saint Robert, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Plainfield, New Jersey

Farmington, New Mexico

Henderson, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Bucyrus, Ohio

Galena, Ohio

Hilliard, Ohio

Edmond, Oklahoma

Brookings, Oregon

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Crossville, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Euless, Texas

Lake Dallas, Texas

Manchaca, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Leesburg, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 30, 2015, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I do not like this plant because it doesn't belong to North America. Give me a yardful of Wild Violets, instead. :)

There is so much conflicting info about the dandelion: a sign of compacted, poor soil, it can grow in the best of conditions, on and on. So I give up and try to live with them. I will take these over Creeping Charlie (the one plant we put a herbicide on) any day.

Yet because of its usefulness for food, I cannot give this a negative. It's harvest time here! Cookies and Cakes are favorites. A couple cups or more of petals go into granola. I am going to experiment with syrup, soup and even tea this year. I do not like the leaves in salad, even if I can find them before they bloom, but the flowers themselves are fine to add to foods for the ... read more


On Jul 9, 2008, tashmoore from Fort George G Meade, MD wrote:

Who didn't love playing with dandelions as a kid? blowing the seeds, "tests" for butter (or boys or whatever). What parent hasn't gotten at least one of these as a gift from a small child? And as a parent isn't it nice to know that if your child decides to taste test a plant this one won't be the one responsible for the hospital trip?

I don't feel like a yard is healthy if it doesn't have some dandelions and clover in it at least. blank carpet of green? must be something wrong......


On Jun 22, 2008, kryistina from Springfield, MO wrote:

A fabulous wild food, the Dandelion plant is edible in it's entirety. The young spring leaves are a great salad green, and the older leaves are great cooked or as a pot herb. The flowers are great for fritters, in any baked good, and made into wine, the roots are great in stews or roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. High in vitamins, and widely available, they are a great and tasty way to supplement a diet with a little colorful fun.

Easy to grow with little-to-no care or attention, gets bigger and more prolific if fertilized with an organic fish emulsion solution and not mown down regularly.

We have problems keeping these lovely "weeds" in our yard because we spend so much time eating them, and we usually have to not only reseed often, but also go hu... read more


On Apr 6, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

If dandelions had most if not all of the compounds that gives it a bitter taste it would had been more of a heavily used cash crop. Many different kinds of dissimiliar crops comes from one lowly weed . The crops includes brussel sprouts, kale, and cabbage! Image doing the same thing with dandelions but as a perennial crop.

Otherwise this is on my list of impossible to remove weeds - especially if it is in a hard to dig location between rocks, etc or growing next to bush - it is hard to image the size of the taproot after you pull out. In clay soil, they often resprout from deep taproots left behindinto many small plants.


On Jan 25, 2008, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

fields of these grow here, and they look so beautiful, just not when they are in your yard. it is an all out battle to Irradicate them from my yard. still i rate it neutral, just because of all of its uses, and some even bloom in winter. (a nice surprise after no other blooms for months)


On Aug 30, 2007, Chesler from Woburn, MA wrote:

If they sold a plant like this, so easy to grow, so tolerant of abuse, so interesting and so edible, it would be a favorite. But because it comes into those putting-green lawns uninvited, it's a weed.


On Aug 4, 2007, Sparisi1122 from Gloucester, MA wrote:

They are a weed around here, but that isn't really a bad thing for me. My guinea pig loves flowers, stems, and leaves.


On Feb 22, 2007, swissAlex from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Lion's tooth is native and abundant in Switzerland. It's used to make a kind of honey from.
Soak a few hands full of open flowers in water and filter it through a towel the next day. Mix this Liquid about 1:1 with sugar and cook slowly until slightly viscous.
A salad of young leaves in spring is also a good use for it.


On Aug 12, 2006, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

A nasty weed here. I've bent/worn out several dandelion diggers trying to eradicate them from my yard. One of those fluffy seed heads sends numerous seeds floating in the wind to sprout in new areas.


On May 27, 2006, kennyso from Markham, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

They grow all over the place! They are VERY invasive, they are considered a weed here in Canada. If you would like seeds, let me know, we have plenty of them here.


On Dec 16, 2004, BotanyDave from Norman, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love Dandelions! Not only do they look nice and smell good, they're also pretty tasty!
Ah! To be in Russia, where dandelions are prized and left to grow where they will- or Hokkaido, Japan, where one of the only plants more abundant in the city garden-things is the horsetail! What of Australia, where they are cultivated as a major cash crop?
Botanically speaking, communities of dandelions may be genetically identical, since each plant can, um, clone itself. And depending what you belive in the way of categories, each population of dandelion may be considered its own sub-species or species. Most people consider this to be going too far, though...
I don't care, I will continue to try to plant dandelions, and my family will continue to pull them up when I'm not loo... read more


On Oct 28, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Dandelion, Lion's Tooth, Bitterwort, Chicoria, Fortune-Teller, Wild Endive, Puffball is Naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Dandelions have deep taproots that can be dried to make a substitute for coffe. Young leaves and flowers are used in salads, stir-fries, and cooked like spinach for a very nutritious vegetable full of vitamins and minerals.
It is a proven diuretic and a laxtative,and has also been used as tonic and blood purifier. They are wide spread and most people hate them in their lawns, but in the proper place they are very lovely and useful plants.
The flowers are beautiful and children love to play with the seed heads by blowing on them.


On Jul 3, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The common English name "Dandelion" is a derivation of the French Dent-de-Lion, ("tooth of the lion"), a reference to the deeply serrated edge of the leaves.

In modern times, this perennial is the poster child for unwelcome plants (aka "weeds") in most gardens. A persistent broad-leaf plant that is especially difficult to eradicate because of its long taproot. Some tout the edible and medicinal qualities of the dandelion as redeeming features, but most of us with a turf lawn see it as a formidable foe.

Children love to blow on the fluffy ripe seedpods and watch the seeds drift away on the slightest breeze until landing, probably on a well-manicured expanse of turf.