Dandelion Spring

The first plant I am going to talk about is common dandelion Taraxacum officinale. Right now you can find this plant just about anywhere in Ohio (which is where I am located). It is so hardy, sometimes I even see it in the winter. It is named “dandelion” for the jagged tooth-shaped leaves. These leaves are edible, but somewhat bitter. Still, they are very nutritious, full of vitamin c, iron, calcium, and beta-carotene – just make sure that you don’t harvest them around dogs and chemical pesticides!

Many people consider these weeds, because they tend to grow everywhere, in yards, in flower beds, in vegetable gardens, even in cracks in the pavement. They breed everywhere not only because the tiny fluffy seeds are borne by the wind, but also because they can produce seeds even without sex. They are going to fill your yard no matter what!

Watercolor dandelion painting
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

IDENTIFLORA: Coming Soon

Hi, my name is Rachel and I love to identify plants and flowers! I live in Ohio, so if you see a plant in the mid-west, comment here and I’ll try to identify it. If you live somewhere else, I’ll give it my best shot.

There are some key things you need to know to identify a wildflower:

  • Opposite or Alternate leaves: This is really key! A plant has one or the other. Ok sometimes they are “whorled”, but usually they are either opposite or alternate. If the arrangement of the stems is alternate, all the leaves will be too – a plant never mixes alternate and opposite.
  • Flower shape: Is it symmetrical like a daisy? Or unusual like a violet or orchid?
  • Flower color. Flowers come in every color! Sometimes even brown or green!
  • Leaf shape: Long? round? kidney shaped? divided like a fern? hand shaped?
  • Leaf edges: toothed? smooth?

There are a few other things to consider (like “what month did you see the flower”), but if you know these, it will really narrow down the possibilities, and make identifying the plant simple!

And that’s what IDENTIFLORA will be. I’m working on the app right now. In the meantime, feel free to ask me if you want to ID a plant.