Taraxacum erythrospermum (Red-seeded Dandelion)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil, roadsides, waste areas, lawns|
|Bloom season:||June - October|
|Plant height:||2 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Around the outside of the base of the disk flowers is a green, receptacle (involucre) with narrow, lance-like bracts (phyllaries) that are glossy and reddish tipped, at least some with a small protuberance just below the tip. Below these bracts is a double row of shorter, lance-like bracts (calyculi) that curl back and down.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are basal, 2 to 10 inches long and ½ to 1½ inches wide, usually wider at the tip end, deeply lobed with sharp triangular to lance-like lobes, often angled towards the base, and random irregular teeth on the edges. The lobe at the tip is typically about the same size as the lateral lobes. Flower stems are erect to ascending, about as long as the leaves, green to pinkish or even red, with fine, cob-webby hairs, especially just below the flower when young, becoming smooth and glossy with age.
Fruit is a globe seed head 1 to 1½ inches across with a tight cluster of red or red to purplish or brownish seeds in the center, each attached to a white parachute like tuft of hairs (pappus) to carry it off in the wind.
Just about everyone would say they could easily identify dandelion but very few are aware that there are two species found in Minnesota, this and Common Dandelion (T. officinale). While very similar, they can be distinguished on several characteristics, all except one somewhat obscure, especially in stunted specimens found in mowed turf where they typically occur. Red-seeded Dandelion typically has smaller flowers, rarely over 1 inch across and more consistently deeply lobed leaves, the lobes more triangular to lance-like than Common Dandelion, with tips strongly curved back towards the base, as well as the lobes at the tip being approximately the same size as those along its length. The phyllaries on Common Dandelion rarely have the protuberance just below the tip, where they are often present on Red-seeded Dandelion. But easily, when fruits are present, the seeds are clearly red or in variations of purple or brown compared to the dull brown or greenish brown seeds of the more common T. officinale. Though clearly far less common than T. officinale, herbarium collections of T. erythrospermum are spread throughout the state and it is likely greatly under reported in Minnesota, as who is paying attention to this species anyway?
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Red-seeded Dandelion plant
- Red-seeded Dandelion habitat
- Red-seeded vs. Common Dandelion fruits
- Red-seeded vs. Common Dandelion leaves
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Long Lake Regional Park and in his backyard in Ramsey County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?