Taraxacum officinale (root)

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Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F.H. Wigg.   Asteraceae  
Syn. Taraxacum dens-leonis Desf.; Taraxacum vulgare (Lam.) Schrank  
Standardized common name (English): dandelion

Botanical Voucher Specimen


Taraxacum officinale Tropicos 100013664.jpg
Source: MOBOT, Tropicos.org[1]

Organoleptic Characteristics

[Taraxacum officinale ...] odor slight or inodorous; taste bitter.

All parts of the plant contain a milky bitterish juice, which exudes when they are broken or wounded.
Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [2]

Macroscopic Characteristics

The dandelion is an herbaceous plant, with a perennial fusiform root. The leaves, which spring immediately from the short upright rhizome, are long, pinnatifid, generally runcinate, with the divisions toothed, smooth, and of a fine 'green color. [...]

The flower-stem rises from the midst of the leaves, six inches or more in height. It is erect, simple, naked, smooth, hollow, fragile, and terminated by a large golden-colored flower, which closes in the evening and expands with the returning light of the sun. The involucre is smooth and double, with the outer scales bent downward. The florets are very numerous, ligulate, and toothed at their extremities. The receptacle is flat and naked. The pappus is stipulate, and at the period of maturity is disposed in a spherical form, and is so light and feathery as to be easily borne away by the wind, with the achene attached.

[The root is] externally brown or blackish-brown, longitudinally wrinkled, having numerous root and rootlet-scars; crown simple or branched with numerous leafbases showing annulate markings.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [3]

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PlantaPhile - 1144.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[4]

PlantaPhile - 1811.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[5]

Microscopic Characteristics

Under the microscope, transverse sections of the root of Taraxacum show a porous, pale yellow wood from 1 to 4 mm. in diameter, surrounded by a light brown bark from 2 to 6 mm. in thickness, the latter composed of concentric layers of lacticiferous vessels and sieve tissues, alternating with whitish inulin-bearing parenchyma. The rhizome portions show a small pith. The powder is light brown; when examined under the microscope it exhibits parenchyma cells which are large, thin-walled and contain irregular masses of inulin; fragments with yellowish-brown lacticiferous vessels; trachea; reticulate; intermediate fibers non-lignified, with irregular, simple and oblique pores.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [6]

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Dandelion Root Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Anastomosing laticiferous vessels observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[7]

Dandelion Root-1 Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Collapsed trichome from the crown of the root observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[8]

High Performance Thin Layer Chromatographic Identification

Supplementary Information


  1. MOBOT, Tropicos.org http://www.tropicos.org/Image/100013664
  2. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  3. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  4. PlantaPhile http://plantaphile.com/
  5. PlantaPhile http://plantaphile.com/
  6. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  7. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories http://www.alkemist.com
  8. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories http://www.alkemist.com
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