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Confused about Dandelions

 
pollinator
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Hi, I know that sounds strange.

I grew up in Illinois and was very familiar with the Dandelion that would grow in the yard. One yellow head. Thick stem, etc.

However I see what I think are dandelions out here in Southern California and they look so different - Yellow flower but multiple heads, sometimes spiky stem and leaves.

So, how many varieties are there and are the things I'm seeing here really dandelion?

 
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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Sheri Menelli wrote:Hi, I know that sounds strange.

I grew up in Illinois and was very familiar with the Dandelion that would grow in the yard. One yellow head. Thick stem, etc.

However I see what I think are dandelions out here in Southern California and they look so different - Yellow flower but multiple heads, sometimes spiky stem and leaves.

So, how many varieties are there and are the things I'm seeing here really dandelion?



"Yellow flower but multiple heads, sometimes spiky stem and leaves."

That's not a dandelion. It might be a near or distant relative in the same family.

Dandelions have a hollow stem, one flower to one stalk, stalk arises out of leaves that grow low to the ground, no leaves on the stalks.
 
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Sounds like it may be sow thistle.
 
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Location: London, UK
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Or possibly Taraxacum californicum, also known as the California dandelion:

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TACA5
 
steward
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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dandelions have they great capacity to change the form of their leaves in such a way, I've seen them with different form of leaves on the same plant. But one thing they for sure have always is a basal rosette on the ground, where all the leaves originate, and the flower has a long stem. multiple flowers on one stem I've never seen and I would say its not dandelion in taht case. Do you have a photo?
i never try to be sure if its dandelion from the leaves because the dandelion has this capacity that has a name but I can't recall now.
 
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Location: Germany
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Dandelion is very adaptable concerning the shape of the leaves. It depends on where they grow, if they are cut regularly, how much sun they get, how much nutrients they get, etc.
But what helps to identify them as dandelion, is that they don't have hair on their leaves. Also dandelion always has this white milky latex coming out if you cut it.
Other plants that have hairy leaves and look like dandelion might also be edible, but you need to identify them correctly to be safe.
You might also look for somebody who knows the plants of your region or visit a wild herbs tour or so.
Good luck!
 
pollinator
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Sheri Menelli wrote:Hi, I know that sounds strange.

I grew up in Illinois and was very familiar with the Dandelion that would grow in the yard. One yellow head. Thick stem, etc.

However I see what I think are dandelions out here in Southern California and they look so different - Yellow flower but multiple heads, sometimes spiky stem and leaves.

So, how many varieties are there and are the things I'm seeing here really dandelion?


There are may dandelion lookalikes out there. Many of them are edible and nutritious. I have a feeling that you are talking about either cat's ears or sow thistle. Here is a great way to tell a true dandelion for a lookalike... flip a green leaf over and find the main vein. If it's smoothie to the touch it's a dandelion.
 
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