Is it Really a Dandelion?

If you plan on eating any part of dandelions from your yard (or anywhere else for that matter) make sure you know which bright yellow flowers are actually dandelions.  There are a few other common plants that look similar to dandelions.  The key to telling the difference is that dandelion plants never branch off.  There is only one flower coming straight up one stem for each plant.  Some of the similar plants have multiple branches with multiple flowers.  Like so:

DSCN7801

Another way to tell the difference is that some of the plants that look like dandelions have tiny hairs on the stem, dandelions have smooth stems.

One more difference is that dandelion leaves form what is called a basal rosette.  Basically they have one layer of leaves that fan out around the central stem at ground level.  Similar to the way most kids draw flowers.  The imposters have multiple layers of leaves.  So for dandelions, look for smooth simplicity, one stem one layer of leaves and no hairs.

DSCN7279

Don’t fear the dandelion imposters too much though, they are not poisonous or toxic to humans.  In fact they are technically edible, they might just not taste as good.

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