You can say dandelions are truly familiar plant and see them almost everyday from spring to autumn. Taraxacum officinale, one of dandelions, belonging to the chrysanthemum family are a native European plant and have become a naturalized Japanese plant. They grow in waysides and so on. They are different from the native species in that its bract is warped in flowering season. They bloom yellow or white flower all the year around except winter.
Taraxacum officinale are classified in the chrysanthemum family, sympetalae, vascular plant. The chrysanthemum family plants are known as the most evoluted and divided plant. Peculiarity of the chrysanthemum family plants is that gathering small flowers look like one flower. About 400 species of Taraxacum mainly live between the Temperate Zone and subtropics and about 20 species of them live in Japan.
Taraxacum officinale originally lived in Europe, but spread to each place of Japan after the importation as food in the Meiji Era. They live in road, wayside and wasteland. It seems that they resist competition because they live in place that other species grow. They have many systems, for example, the small type living in lawn, the big type for food and each of them grows according to the environment in Europe. The reason why they spread all around Japan is many varieties of them was introduced again and again. The type lives in lawns, the type grows in wastelands, the type lives in meadows where tall plants live are different in strategy, so, it is better that you think they are separate each other if they live adjoining place.
Taraxacum officinale bloom flower for a long period regardless of season. Its flower stalk is straight, don’t grow branches, grow capitulum to apex. Its aggregate fruits are spread by wind. If they are cut and lost the over ground part, they regenerate the leaves by nutriment in the root. They take apogamy, so seeds ripen by oneself in spite of pollen. Therefore , they have strong propagative power and widened the habitat. At the area lingering a rural landscape, the native species have a power. So, it can be said that taraxacum officinale are a indicator species for urbanization. In Europe or the Middle East, taraxacum officinale have been eaten for a long time. Though they are a little bitter, they be eaten for salad. Moreover, its dehydrated roots are known as a substitute for coffee and have effect on an increase in one’s appetite, improvement in function of the liver and so on. In a part of U.S.A., people utilize its flower petals for materials of the wine. As a medicinal herb, they work on uric disease, anemia, jaundice, neurosis.
In Kochi, we can watch taraxacum officinale easily. It may they are most popular plant.