Carolina Desert Chicory
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright copy-cat annual or short-lived perennial emerging from a taproot. Preferred habitat is fields, meadows, stable dunes, roadsides, and border of thin woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are at the base of the plant may measure 10 inches or more. While the bottom leaves can be deceiving, as some will appear to be true dandelion, they are not as deeply lobed as the edible herb.
Flowers are solitary heads; the longest involucral bracts are two-lobed and wider at the tip than just below it. Flowers in each head are numerous. Rays are creamy white (or sometimes yellow). Anthers are dark. Flowers occur in the spring.
ruit is a seed which outer later is fused to it.
The plant seeps milky juice when broken. If mistaken for the true dandelion green and ingested it is said to do no harm; however, it has a bitter taste so it would be wise to nibble the leaf or stalk first before tossing it into a garden salad.
The plant is widespread; from eastern Texas to Florida and then along the eastern seaboard to Delaware and westward to the Midwest. While it is generally accept that they are yellow with black filaments, it is not unusual to see a creamy-white variety in the same field location.
White dandelion is quite similar in flower shape to yellow dandelion, Taraxacum spp. and skeleton plant, Lygodesmia texana. Like the true dandelions, the flowers close quickly after being picked.