E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg.
common dandelion
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16313)

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Distribution of Taraxacum officinale
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Common dandelion is a familiar early spring flowering (February/March) perennial plant species in the daisy family (Asteraceae), which is typified by composite daisy-like flowers. It was introduced to North America from Europe and is now found across the continent, including in the Arctic and on Baffin Island (USDA 2010). In BC, it is found across most of the province in disturbed sites including lawns, roadsides, and pastures. In the spring, the species is distinctive with its cluster of bright yellow flowers and dark green elongated toothy leaves--flowers appear year-round and have mutiple petals and flowers. Plants have thick, long taproots. The earliest collection record for this species in the UBC Herbarium is a specimen collected by Eli Wilson in 1913, from Armstrong, BC. It was also collected in 1914 in Vancouver by J. K. Henry. This is the most widespread species of dandelion in North America, and it is now found worldwide (Brouillet 2010)

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a branched, stem-base and a thick, deep taproot; stems erect, solitary to several, simple, hollow, glabrous or sparsely long-hairy, exuding milky juice when broken, 5-60 cm tall.
Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate, 5-40 cm long, 1-10 cm wide, entire to toothed or more often pinnately lobed to pinnately cut or toothed, tapering basally to a more or less winged stalk, glabrous or slightly hairy; stem leaves lacking.
Heads with strap-shaped flowers, solitary; involucres 15-25 mm tall; involucral bracts in 2 series, the outer ones lanceolate, reflexed, glabrous, the inner ones lanceolate, long-pointed; ray flowers yellow; disk flowers lacking.
Achenes 3-4 mm long, not including the beak which is 2-4 times longer than the body, straw-coloured or greenish-brown to greyish, sharply ribbed and spiny above; pappus of numerous, 6-8 mm long, white hairlike bristles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, pastures, gardens and disturbed areas; common in S BC, less frequent northward; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Taraxacum officinale

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 959 2461
Slope Gradient (%) -5 15 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 194 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(3), BAFA(1), BG(254), BWBS(99), CDF(5), CWH(29), ESSF(182), ICH(147), IDF(1175), IMA(1), MS(176), PP(301), SBPS(76), SBS(388), SWB(8)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Brouillet, Luc. 2010. Taraxacum officinale. Flora North America. Availale Online.

USDA. Taraxacum officinale. United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database. Available Online.

General References