Image of Dandelion retrieved from Nature Watch on June 23, 2013

The dandelion is one of the familiar plants seen everywhere in meadows. By either having their flowers open or closed, they tell us if the weather is fair or foul. The name dandelion (lion's tooth) refers to the way the leaves are formed into pointed teeth. In the rich green of springtime meadows, the golden-yellow flowers often form carpets of blazing color. The short rootstock. With its fleshy taproot, produces a basal rosette of leaves. These are a light green with irregularly toothed margins. The shape of the leaves varies with the site and climate. In mountain regions, they are much smaller, while the root is relatively large.

The hollow flowering stems contain milky juice, as do the root and the leaves. They are leafless, grow to a height of about 20-25 cm, and bear the thick calyx of numerous green sepals which holds the many golden-yellow strap florets. While the flowers are wide open when the sun is shining, they close up at night and in rainy weather. The spherical ovary is covered closely with small dark fruits, each with a beak about 10mm long, and a parachute of hairs (the pappus) on which the ripe seeds are borne away by the wind. The active principles are found in the young spring shoots, which contain vitamins, and the root.

Excerpt from page 103 of Medicines from the Earth edited by William A.R. Thomson, M.D.

Dandelion, plant, herb, medicine, anatomy