The dandelion is an herbaceous, broadleaf perennial native to Eurasia that was introduced to many parts of the world by Europe. It’s hard to imagine this plant as an invasive weed as it’s valued for its nutritional and medicinal properties reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and combating liver disorders and weak digestion, among many others. However, the design of the weed with its parachute-like bristles each containing a seed that can be carried over great distances by the wind suggests its intent to spread invasively.
Dandelions have a single deep taproot as they spread and grow by seed germination without fertilization and produce a rosette of deeply toothed leaves at the base of the plant. Stalks are round and hollow, filled with a milky latex, and can grow as tall as 72 cm.
The plant’s flowers first bloom as bright yellow florets with each petal actually representing a whole flower. These flowers close within days of producing to develop seeds within each flower and result in the parachute-like bristles we recognize that are carried off by wind to spread to other locations.