The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Dandelion: The dandelion has many synonyms. Here is a selection: blowball, cankerwort, fairy clock, lion’s tooth, pise-en-lit, pee-the-bed, priest’s crown, puffball, swine snout, white endive, wild endive.
Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale Web. S. L.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy family)


One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock… Children love counting the hours on a fairy clock or catching a ‘fairy’ to make a wish. From March to April the meadows are full of dandelions, bathed first in a sea of gold and then in a mass of white from the seed heads made up of the parachute-like achenes. When the dandelions appear we know that spring has come! Their flower heads consist entirely of strap-shaped, or ligulate, florets and the flowers only open when the sun is shining brightly; on dull days they close. Gardeners are often less than happy at the sight of these perennial composite flowers with their milky sap which grow so well in their lawns. The long dandelion tap root can penetrate to a depth of up to 50 cm and anchors the leaf rosette firmly to the earth. Attempts to dig it up usually end with torn ends of root remaining deep in the ground. The dandelion continues to thrive. This little flower is indeed a very adaptable survivor with very diverse growth patterns. It flourishes wherever where its seeds land – whether in cracks in the pavement or on roofs and in chinks in walls.