I went hunting in my neighbourhood for a genuine dandelion. I found only two despite knowing that neighbour’s lawns are often blossoming with yellow flowers. As the cold weather arrives, the dandelion slows down into a dormancy phase, and no doubt that is limiting their flowering at the moment.
When you look closely at the leaves in the photo above, the ‘teeth’ are pointed, and are all directed to the centre of the plant. There has only been and will only be the one flower (now seeding) on the stem. There are no leaves sprouting from the uprising stem. This is definitely a common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale.
This investigation of local weeds made me curious to identify the following weed which I know sends up yellow dandelion look-alike flowers. The evidence, without the flower stem, points to this weed being the cat’s ear (to get this name someone must have looked at a beaten up cat and seen a chewed ear!). The cat’s ear is the most common dandelion look-alike in my lawn.
See how the ‘teeth’ on the leaves are rounded and opposite each other in the photos above; this feature helps to identify the plant as a cat’s ear.
The common alternative to the genuine dandelion that was sprouting in everyone’s garden and in pavement cracks was a couple of varieties of the sowthistle/milkthistle.
Now I know these plants have culinary uses I am looking on them with fondness and certainly with great interest. Are they growing in your lawn or garden? How about my mainland and international blog followers? Anything like the dandelions and their ‘fakes’ in your environment?