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aturalized Photo: Naseer Ahmad Nengroo
Common name: Dandelion • Bengali: Pitachumki • Kashmiri: ھند Hand, ھندری Handri • Hindi: Dudhi, Baran, dudal, Dudh-batthal, Dudhal • Kannada: Kaadu shaavanthi • Ladakhi: ཧན Han • Malayalam: Dugddhapheni • Sanskrit: Dugdhapheni, Lootari, Payasvini • Telugu: Patri • Urdu: Bathur • Nepali: टुकी फूल Tukee Phool, दुधे झार Dudhe Jhaar, कर्णफुलि Karnaphuli, फुली झार Phulee Jhaar, टुक्नु Tuknu
Botanical name: Taraxacum officinale    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Dandelion is a perennial plant growing almost everywhere, which can reach 38 cm in height. This plant has only basal leaves. Each leaf is toothed or lobed. The flower-heads are up to 4.5 cm wide, yellow. The florets number 40 to over 100 per head, that are yellow or orange-yellow in color. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early winter. Seeds are enclosed singly within fruiting bodies and are attached to a long slender stalk that terminates in a parachute-like structure called a pappus. Seeds are transported in the wind. Euell Gibbons in his classic book Stalking the Wild Asparagus devotes over four pages to the many tasty dishes that can be made from this common plant while homeowners and greens keepers spend millions of dollars on toxins to eliminate Dandelions from their lawns. Dandelion is native to Europe to Siberia, naturalized across India.
Medicinal uses: Dandelion has enormous medicinal value. Dandelion has been used in herbal medicine in an attempt to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic. Dandelion is used in herbal medicine as a mild laxative, for increasing appetite, and as a plant bitter for improving digestion. The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent and as a folk remedy to treat warts. Dandelion has also been used as an herbal remedy in Europe, North America, and China.

Identification credit: Radhika Vathsan Photographed in Kashmir & Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

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