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Taraxacum officinale 





Appearance and General Info


Common Name: 

Taraxacum officinale, more commonly known as the dandelion, is a famous weed with incredible value.  The leaves of the dandelion are simple and basal, forming a rosette above the deep central taproot. Dandelion is a perennial herb and is characterized by its bloom of bright yellow and orange petal-like ray flowers. The flower heads are solitary, but joined by many other flowers from the same root system. The leaves are usually deeply notched and lobed like a saw. The flower heads open during the daytime and close at night. The dandelion produces a milky white sap (latex,) that seeps through the head (and from the stem when it is broken,) and is sticky to the touch. Once mature, the flowers form into white seed heads (wish making puffballs) that blow in the wind for distribution.

Medicinal Uses:
The dandelion is a fabulous medical aid for human conditions, both acute disease situations in addition to being a great preventative medicine for future problems.  All parts of the plant have a supportive and mild stimulating effect on the liver, and aid in riding the body of congestion. The root has therapeutic benefits for various ailments; such as constipation, skin problems (acne, eczema, and psoriasis) arthritis, gout, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections. In addition, it has diuretic and detoxifying properties. Dandelion root encourages steady elimination of toxins. It is considered a safe diuretic, increasing both the water and waste products in the urine; hence one of its nicknames, "pee in bed". The leaves also have unique diuretic properties, unlike conventional diuretics (which cause a loss of potassium) the leaves contain high levels of potassium (which cause a gain rather than a loss of potassium) in the body. Leaves also stimulate digestive function by increasing saliva production and promoting both stomach acid and digestive enzyme production. Dandelion leaves are also used to prevent gallstones.

Edible Uses:
The entire plant is edible in its raw form.  The leaves make fabulous salad greens, the flowers can also be added for beauty and sweetness.  The flowers taste like honey, which is why in the spring, the dandelion flower is the honey bees first choice meal in collecting their nectar in the making of honey. The roots of dandelion are used as a vegetable either fresh in soups or pasta dishes and can also be dried to make a morning beverage.  To make a coffee substitute, mix half dried roots with half roasted roots to benefit from the nutrition as well as the flavor.  The bitter flavor of both the leaves and the roots assist in toning the internal organs.  The flowers are famous for making a delicious wine or mead. Dandelion as a whole contains a richer source of vitamin A than carrots in addition to a host of other minerals and vitamins.  It is truly a value to human health and nutrition!