Taraxacum officinale plant NC8
Introduced yearlong-green perennial taprooted herb which initially forms a rosette of leaves and then unbranched, hollow stems to 35 cm tall. Leaves are soft, hairless to sparsely hairy and toothed or lobed; lobes are sharply-tipped and point to the leaf base. Flowerheads consist of a solitary terminal head; heads only contain yellow ligulate flowers. Fruits have a parachute of bristles on top of a long beak. Flowers throughout the year. A native of Europe, it is found on disturbed, fertile, moist soils; most common in lawns, wastelands and heavily grazed pastures. It has poor tolerance of heavy clays and saline or acid soils. Produces palatable and nutritious feed; often with high crude protein and magnesium levels. Its leaves are normally prostrate and not readily available to cattle. However, managing grazing to increase pasture height (e.g. rotational grazing), forces dandelion leaves to grow more vertically. Becomes more abundant under grazing systems that reduce ground cover. Roots are used in herbal medicine and as a coffee substitute.