Taraxacum officinale vs. Hypochaeris radicata

Dandelion is one herb that almost everybody can identify. It’s that pesky yellow weed in your yard that just won’t go away no matter what you do. It’s a universal problem too! It grows almost everywhere and in pretty much any condition.

Dandelion is such a resilient plant, and I admire it for that, but what if I told you it’s also one of the most versatile, health building, medicinal plants out there? It has amazing health benefits and, as long as you have a safe, toxin-free place to harvest, you can use it today!

Dandelion is one of the first plants to pop up in the spring. The young leaves are great in salads and the edible flowers are so yummy battered and fried. Just make sure to leave some flowers for the bees; it’s their first chance at food after a long lean winter! ?

You can probably already identify dandelion, but I’d like to point out some differences between it and it’s look-alike, cat’s ear, so you can be sure.

identifying cat's ear vs dandelion

The stems of cat’s ear are not hollow; they are wiry and will usually have more than one flower on each stem.

close up of yellow cat's ear flowers

The young leaves, root, flowers, and buds of cat’s ear are edible, similar to dandelion with comparable nutritional benefits, but that’s where the similarities stop.

It is not used the same medicinally. I did bump into a very interesting research paper regarding the root extract. Here were the results:

Basically, they found enough positive evidence to warrant continued research into the root for use as an antibacterial (although they will be looking for the active constituents in order to make a patentable medicine). We, on the other hand, can use this information as holistic herbalists and appreciate that the research has been done.

Here’s a link to the paper if you’d like to read it in its entirety.

Looking for more information on dandelion and other herbs? Check out our Herb-a-Month course!

close up of a yellow dandelion flower and cat's ear