Family Compositae (Asteraceae), together with sunflower, artichokes, lettuce, chamomile tea, chicory
Dandelion is a common lawn weed with deeply notched pale to dark green leaves and yellow flower heads. The leaves are used for salad or cooked, like other green vegetables.
Dandelion leaves are either sold in the supermarket or picked wild in lawns or meadows, before the flowers develop (when they are still tender).
The ones sold in the supermarket are specially cultivated for eating. They have longer leaves which are more tender and are safer to consume.
If you are planning to go out dandelion picking then you have to be absolutely sure the area is safe and free of pesticides and fungicides. Please do not pick by the roadside because the leaves will most likely be covered in exhaust fumes from cars driving by. I personally buy mine in the supermarket.
What do the leaves taste like?
Dandelion leaves have a fairly bitter taste, similar to chicory.
The leaves are also used as an ingredient in root beer. (Lake Forest College)
Nutrition Facts of Dandelion Leaves
100g (3.5oz/about 2 cups chopped) dandelion leaves have 45 calories and the following RDA for vitamins:
- Vitamin A: 10160 (203%)
- Vitamin K: 778mg (973%)
- Vitamin C: 35mg (58%)
Source: self nutrition data
Dandelion is a herb, native to Europe and Asia and is naturalized as a weed in North America.