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The Common Dandelion


Taraxacum officinale


Dandelion leaves have a jagged edge, grow close to the ground, and are seldom more than 20 centimeters long. Its flowers are bright yellow. There are several dandelion species.

Habitat and Distribution

Dandelions grow in open, sunny locations throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Edible Parts

All parts are edible. Eat the leaves raw or cooked. Boil the roots as a vegetable. Roots roasted and ground are a good coffee substitute. Dandelions are high in vitamins A and C and in calcium.

Other Uses

Use the white juice in the flower stems as glue.

Steve's notes:

Dandelion roots used to be eaten in the spring as a blood-cleanser. They seem to have a beneficial effect on the liver. They also have been reported to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The leaves are most palatable in the spring, but get bitter later. Leaves found in the shade, or growing under dead grass and tree leaves may be less bitter. They are full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E and B-complex. They are also rich in iron, calcium and potassium.

We used to rinse the flowers, dip them in flour, and fry them, for a mushroom-like treat. They can also be thrown in a salad if they are not too bitter.

The seeds are edible, and can be ground into flour.

It is said that the milky juice of the dandelion, if applied several times daily for a week, can remove warts.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Dandelion