Taraxacum officinaleAsteraceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerHabitat
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted

The Plant:

  • An herbaceous perennial, 3-18 inches tall. Grows from a basal rosettes of leaves.

The Leaves:

  • basal
  • lanceolate
  • lobed
  • leaves exude a milky latex when damaged.

The Stem:

  • Flowers are borne on hollow stems that exude a milky latex when broken.

The Flowers:

  • Yellow flowers with many petals.

The Fruits:

  • spherical "puffball" of fluffy white structures, each attached to a thin brown achene

The Habitat:

  • lawns and grassy areas
  • disturbed sites


  • seeds dispersed by wind

Key ID Features:

  • milky latex
  • puffball of wind-dispersed seeds

Similar Species:

  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is similar but has a much denser, fluffier seedhead.


  • On Nantucket, this species is a roadside weed and weed of disturbed habitats. Not typically found in natural areas.

Growth Form: Herb

Origin: Origin unclear

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Do not list at this time

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston