Species: Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)


Category: Flowering Plants

Location: NW

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


This is one of the largest worldwide flowering plant families and is well represented in the UK. The name Compositae refers to the clustering of the flowers (called florets) into compact heads, so that an entire cluster represents a single ‘flower’. They also have one-seeded fruits called achenes.

C. Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)

This native species has outer florets grey-violet beneath, opening in April, but often any time, with stems issuing a milky juice. There are many microspecies within eight principal subspecies. The number of puffs needed to blow the filaments from the dandelion clock is supposed to tell the time.

The young leaves lose their bitterness when blanched, and can then be added to a salad, made into sandwiches with salt, pepper and lemon juice, used in stuffing for pork, or steamed as greens. They contain vitamins A, B and C.

Additional Information

Recipe for Dandelion Flower Wine

7 pints (4l) of flower heads 3 lb (1.4 kg) sugar
7 pints (4l) water 3 oranges
yeast and yeast nutrient.
Pick the flowers before they are fully opened. Chop the rinds of the oranges finely and extract all the juice. Dissolve the sugar in the heated water, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and stir in the juices, chopped rinds and flowers. Use some of the liquor to make a mixture of the yeast and nutrient and stir this in too. Cover and leave in a warm place for a week, stirring each day. Strain into demi-johns and proceed as normal for wines.

The whole plant is used to make dandelion beer.

Recipe for Dandelion Beer

1 lb (450g) of washed dandelion plants 2 lb (900g) sugar
7 pints (4 l) water 2 lemons
½ oz (12.5g) root ginger 1 oz (25g) cream of tartar
2 tsp granulated yeast.
Finely chop the lemon rinds and extract the juice. Put the water in a preserving pan and add the chopped lemon rinds, ginger and dandelions. Boil for 15 minutes and strain. Add the sugar and cream of tartar and stir to dissolve. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature before adding the lemon juice and yeast. Stir, cover and leave in a warm place for 3-4 days. Bottle and store in a cool place, keeping only up to two weeks.

Recipe for Dandelion and Burdock Beer

2 lb (900 g) young nettles 4 lemons, juiced and peeled
8 oz (225 g) dandelion leaves 2 gallon (9 l) water
8 oz (225 g) fresh or 4 oz (125 g) dry burdock root 1 oz (25 g) ginger root, grated
2 lb (900 g) plus 8 tsp Demerara sugar 2 oz (50 g) cream of tartar
Brewer’s yeast, amount according to instructions.
Put the nettles, dandelion leaves, burdock, ginger and the lemon peel into a large pan. Add the water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Put the lemon juice, 2lb of sugar, and the cream of tartar into a large container in which the fermentation can take place shortly, and strain the liquid from the pan, pressing the plants well to extract all the juices. Stir the contents of the container to dissolve the sugar and cool to body temperature. Sprinkle on the yeast, cover and leave in a warm place to ferment for 3 days. Filter and bottle, adding ½ tsp Demerara sugar per pint. Leave until the beer is clear, normally about a week, before drinking.



The Dandelion is ubiquitous, bane of gardeners, but provider of wine, beer and coffee.


The number of puffs needed to blow the filaments from the Dandelion clock is supposed to tell the time.


The number of puffs needed to blow the filaments from the dandelion clock is supposed to tell the time.