(INN) not ranked in TN
Taraxacum officinale* / Composite Family
The name dandelion comes from
the Americanization of the French
"dent de lion," meaning "tooth of the lion."
The common name in German (Löwenzahn - pronounced "luhr-ven-tsan"), Norwegian (Løwetann) and Spanish (diente del león) also means "lion's tooth," from the sharp, jagged lobes of the leaves. Dandelions are self-pollinating, which makes them an even more pesky weed. Since it is such a common weed, this is a good flower to use to study the anatomy of a composite flower. Each "flower" is actually many individual florets. Tear a flowerhead in half and remove a single little flower. Each one has a curled, Y-shaped pistil, a stamen with pollen, an ovary (which will become a seed), and the pappas, the "parachute," which is so enticing for children to blow and make a wish. This picture was taken in Oak Ridge in early March. The little insect is a hoverfly, not a bee; some people call them "news bees".
Where seen: Great Smoky Mountains NP, Warriors' Path SP, Widespread