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Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F.H. Wigg.

Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F.H. Wigg.

Family

Compositae

Synonyms

None

Vernacular Names

English

Dandelion.

Indonesia

Jombang (Java).

Viet­nam

B[oof] c[oo]ng anh.

French

Dent de li­on, pissenlit.

Geographical Distributions

Taraxacum officinale is native to Europe and continental temperate Asia and southwards to the Himalayas, but now is distributed almost all over the world. In the Malaysian region, it has been introduced and naturalised in Penin­sular Malaysia, West Java and the Philippines (Benguet Province). It is sometimes cultivated as a vegetable or for medicinal applications.

Description

Taraxacum officinale is a perennial, stemless herb that can grow up to 30(-50) cm tall, with a long taproot and latex in all parts.

The leaves are arranged spirally in a radical rosette, oblance-shaped to narrowly spoon-shaped, measuring 4-35 cm x 0.7-10 cm, very variably and irregularly pin­natilobed to pinnatipartite, variably hairy or rarely completely hairless and almost distinctly petiolate or narrowly tapering into a winged petiole. The petiole is green or pink to purplish. The inflorescence is an axillary head, 1-25 per plant, with simple peduncle, hollow, leafless, and measuring (3-)3.5-5(-6.5) cm in diametre. The outer involucral bracts are many-seriate, patent to re­curved, ovate to linear-lance-shaped, unequal and with­out 'horns' (thickened and/or clawed apices) while the inner involucral bracts are 1-seriate, erect, oblong, with flat recepta­cle and naked.

The flowers are many and all ligulate. The petal is yellow, but often with a purple line outside. There are 5 sta­mens. The anthers are fused into a tube and with arrowhead-shaped lobes at the base. The ovary is inferior and with a single ovule. The single style is greenish or yellowish to black and with 2 spreading stigmas.

The fruit is one-seeded, narrowly obovoid, measures about 3 mm long, ribbed and greenish to straw-colored or brownish. The upper third is minutely spiny, and abrupt­ly contracted into a beak 6-12 mm long which is crowned by spreading, scabrid, and white pappus hairs.

Seedling is with epigeal germination. The cotyle­dons are free, leafy, obspathulate and sheathed at the base. The epicotyl is absent.

Ecology / Cultivation

Being weedy in nature, Taraxacum officinale is most often found in ruderal places, along roads and fields and in grasslands. In tropical regions, it occurs only at higher elevations, in Malaysia at 1200-1500 m altitude. It occurs on various soils, from sandy dunes to thick clay, and from dry to wet, sometimes even brackish habitats, though it seems to grow best on fertile sandy or loamy soils.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Taraxacum_officinale_Weber_ex_FH_Wigg

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  1)  Medicinal Herbs

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.

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