Taraxacum caloschistum Dahlst. “Brilliant-stalked Dandelion”
Introduced. A few scattered records in England, South Wales and southern Scotland; rare and apparently not persisting for long. Grassland, verges, gardens, urban sites.
A medium-sized dandelion with numerous similar narrowly lanceolate multilobate mid-green prostrate to ascending leaves in a crowded rosette. Petioles brilliant red, unwinged below, and proximal mid-rib also red. Leaf side-lobes 5-8, short, patent, acute, concave-angled on the distal margin and with one large tooth or double-lobed. Leaf end-lobes short, triangular, acute. Exterior bracts pale green above, or with a leaden suffusion, weakly bordered, recurved to claw-shaped, ending in a wispy, coloured tip. Ligules striped greyish-pink. Most likely to be confused with T. mimulum, but that species has less brilliantly coloured petioles, the leaf side-lobes have several small teeth, and exterior bracts with a sigmoid posture. Few other species combine unwinged red petioles with multilobate leaves. The latin name translates as ‘beautifully divided’, and this is indeed usually a handsome species.