Dandelions are one of the first flowers that children of my age learned to recognize. They are found growing in lawns and wild places all over the world. In the U.S., there are native dandelion species and Taraxacum officinale that was imported from Europe by immigrants who brought this plant for its food and medicinal value. Dandelion originated as a French term for this flower which means “Tooth of the Lion”.
In this image you can see the deeply lobed leaves characteristic of this plant and multiple flowerheads in various stages of their lifecycle. Dandelions belong to the Asteraceae or sunflower family and their flowers are really compound flowers. Note the seedhead in the lower left, each seed represents the product of a single flower.
Dandelions appear early in the spring and flower nearly the entire growing season. Kids, like me, used to pick them at the stage seen here and blow on them to cause the cypselae (seeds) to be carried by their silky parachutes (pappi) which can transport their seed several hundred yards from the parent plant.
In this image it is possible to see a cypsela taking to the air.
At whatever their developmental stage, dandelion flowers are are remarkably beautiful. They provide food for many nectar feeders and they can be consumed by deer and other herbivores. They are a weed to some folks, but they have value beyond being a nuisance in the lawn.