Dandelion is an extremely common taprooted perennial broadleaf weed. It is also known as Lentodon taraxacum, Lions-tooth, Blow-ball, Cankerwort and Taraxacum officinale.
Dandelion has a deep, fleshy taproot that often branches. Leaves branching from the taproot form into rosettes and can remain green throughout the year. The leaf margins are deeply lobed with the lobes pointing backward toward the base. Dandelion leaves, flower stalks and taproot exude a milky juice when cut. This broadleaf weed is infamous for its yellow flowers that are produced on individual leafless stalks. It reproduces by seeds, which are brown with long white hairs. The seeds form spherical puffs at the tip of the stems, replacing the flowers. Seeds are disseminated by wind—or sometimes by small children making a wish.
This broadleaf weed prefers open and disturbed areas that receive a lot of sun, such as lawns, gardens, dilapidated meadows, vacant lots and along railroads and roadsides. Dandelion is one of the most recognizable broadleaf weeds and is found in every state and territory in North America.
Proper cultural practices, such as proper mowing and watering, can help prevent Taraxacum officinale by creating dense grass, which inhibits this broadleaf weed's ability to grow. Physical removal (i.e., pulling weeds) is generally ineffective due to the risk of spreading the seeds to additional areas of your lawn, as well as the inability to fully remove the Dandelion taproot.