Dandelion, a perennial plant found throughout temperate regions of the world. Although the common dandelion is usually considered a bothersome weed, it is also a food plant. Young dandelion leaves are used as greens and in salad, and the flowers are sometimes used in making wine.

The plant is filled with white, milky juice, or latex. The leaves cluster close to the ground in a rosette shape. The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion (“lion's tooth”), suggested by the toothlike notches on the leaves. Bright yellow flowers grow atop hollow stalks that spring from the plant. The plant has a deep taproot. In Europe the roots are roasted and prepared as a substitute for coffee. Dried roots are a source of a substance sometimes used in medicine as a tonic or to increase the flow of urine.

Dandelion flowers bloom from April to August, opening in the morning and closing at night. When the flowers ripen, they form feathery seed tufts that are carried by the wind. The plant's stubborn taproot makes it hard to kill. Chopping close to the ground only encourages the plant to grow. Commercial sprays and granules of such herbicides as 2,4-D are used on lawns to help kill the roots of dandelions.

The plants found in the United States are common dandelions. The red-seeded dandelion, native to Europe, is smaller than the common species and has redder seeds and more deeply, finely cut leaves. The Russian dandelion, found in Kazakhstan, Asia, is a source of natural rubber.

Dandelions belong to the family Compositae. The common dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. The red-seeded is T. laevigatum; the Russian, T. koksaghyz.