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Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion 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. A perennial plant, its leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact. To make leaves more palatable, they are often blanched to remove bitterness. The dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Sephardic, Chinese and Korean cuisine. In the north-eastern United States, dandelion is cultivated and eaten in salad. In Crete, Greece, the leaves of a variety called Mari, or Koproradiko are eaten by locals, either raw or boiled in salads. The flower petals, along with other ingredients, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Please click here to ask a question
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  • Seller location: Huntly, Waikato, NZ

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