Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Europe, North America and Asia. The common name Dandelion (IPA: /ˈdændɪlaɪən/) is given to members of the genus and like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.
The leaves are 5–25 cm long or longer, simple and basal, entire or lobed, forming a rosette above the central taproot. The flower head, are yellow to orange colored, and are open in the daytime but closes at night. The flower heads mature into a spherical “clocks” (also known as a “wishie”) containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Each achene is attached to a pappus of fine hairs, which enable wind-aided dispersal over long distances.
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