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a genus of perennial plants of the family Com-positae. The plants contain a milky juice. The leaves form a basal rosette and may be pinnatifid or entire. The flowers, which are bisexual and ligulate, grow in separate heads located at the tips of leafless, hollow flower stalks. The fruit is an achene with a beak and a pappus made of numerous white hairs. Many species are marked by apomixis.
There are 70 “major,” or “collective,” species or more than 1,000 “minor” species of Taraxacum. They are distributed in the cold and temperate zones. In the USSR there are about 200 species. The most widespread species is the common dandelion (T. officinale), which includes hundreds of apomixic forms. The common dandelion grows near dwellings; in pastures, and along roads, forest edges, and rivers. It grows as a weed on lawns and in gardens and meadows. The plant is eaten by livestock. The young leaves are edible, and the roots may be roasted to make an ersatz coffee. The dried roots are used as bitters to stimulate appetite, as a laxative, and as a cholagogue. A thick dandelion root extract is used in the production of pills. Certain species, such as the kok-saghyz (T. kok-saghyz), contain rubber in their roots.
REFERENCESFlora SSSR, vol. 29. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
T. V. EGOROVA