Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, perennial, scapigerous with white latex and rhizomatous rootstock; scapes glabrous or sparsely hairy or woolly. Leaves all radical, extremely varied in shape, size and lobation, entire, sinuate or runcinate-pinnatifid, glabrous or pubescent. Heads homogamous, broadly cylindric or campanulate, solitary on leafless scapes. Ligules yellow or yellowish white. Involucra! bracts many seriate, differentiated into outer and inner bracts, herbaceous, subequal, sometimes connate below. Receptacle flat, naked. Stamens 5, appendaged; anthers slender, base sagittate. Style slender; stigma bifid. Achenes oblong-lanceolate or oblong obovoid or narrow, angled or outer dorsally compressed with often a very long or short, slender beak, glabrous or muricate on ribs. Pappus slender, unequal, copious, simple.

Taraxacum is a highly polymorphic genus with over 1000 species, mainly in the cold temperate regions. Hooker (1881) reported 2 species and 4 varieties from India while van Soest (1963), based on his two month's survey in the Himalayas has reported 75 species under 12 sections. It may be noted that this genus has its origin in north western Himalayas, E. Turkestan and Pamir hills, where maximum variations in one and the same species are observed. Perhaps this prompted van Soest in establishing so many sections and species all of which reveal overlapping characters. As no types of these taxa have been seen by us and also as biosystematic study of the whole complex is felt essential, we are rather reluctant to include all these taxa established by van Soest in the present treatement. These excluded species are listed at the end of the genus.

Literature. CHOPRA, S. (1965). Palynological studies on Indian Taraxacum L. Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. B. 61(4): 214-221. RICHARDS, A.J. (1972). Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on Taraxacum (Compositae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 65: 37-45. SOEST, J.L. VAN (1958). The phytogeography of Taraxacum with special reference to Europe. Blumea (Suppl.) 4: 60-67. SOEST J.L. VAN. (1963). Taraxacum species from India, Pakistan and neighbouring pountries. Wenda 10: 1-91.



KEY TO THE SPECIES


1a. Leaves narrowly oblanceolate; seapes up to 15 cm or slightly more high; ligules white or whitish yellow 1. Taraxacum leucanthum
b. Leaves broadly oblanceolate; seapes up to 25 cm or more high; ligules perfectly yellow 2
2a. Seapes few; achenes yellowish; beak of achene longer than body 2. Taraxacum officinale
b. Scape numerous; achenes usually whitish; beak of achenes shorter than body 3. Taraxacum wattii


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