The common yellow dandelion flower head can change into the familiar, white, globular seed head overnight. Each seed has a tiny parachute, to spread far and wide in the wind.
The thick, brittle, beige, branching taproot grows up to 10" long. All parts of this plant exude a white milky sap when broken.
Dandelions are generally easily recognizable in all seasons. The growth of leaves from the basal rosette, the leaf shape with its characteristic multi-toothed edges (although some dandelions exhibit less toothiness and a smoother, broader leaf - these are generally found in shady areas) is easy to spot even in winter. If unsure, break a stem or leaf and the characteristic milky sap will emerge. When in bloom, dandelions are bright yellow and hard to miss.
The genus name of the dandelion comes from the Greek word taraxos, which means disorder, and akos, which means remedy. The species name, officinale, means that it is used medicinally. The common name may come from the Greek word leontodon, which means lion's tooth. Other sources claim the word dandelion comes from the old French word Dent-de-lion or from the Latin dens leonis, both also meaning lion's tooth or teeth.