Tim Rich's picture

Taraxacum subericinum

Observed: 28th March 2010 By: Tim RichPlants expert
T522 Devon 056

sect. Hamata

    Likely ID
    Taraxacum subericinum
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Mark at Magdalen's picture

Taraxacum identification

We are at the extreme end of plant identification here. Is it possible for normal mortals to identify these plants to species level in the field? And if any of them can be, what is it in these photos that leads you to your identification.

Chris Metherell's picture

Taraxacum Identification

Tim is much more qualified that I to comment on this - I'm very much a beginner when it come to Dandelions. However, I think the short answer to your question is, yes, it is possible, with a lot of practice to ID in the field. The way I was taught (by John Richards, the national referee) was to start by trying to ID a plant down to section. Taraxacum is divided into 9 sections in the UK. Surprisingly easy to get the section in many cases. If you can't do it, move onto the next plant - there are lots of Dandelions! Ignore section Ruderalia - there are too many for a beginner to take in. But for the others, pick one or two sections (sect. Naevosa for example is good to start on because ID to section is easy and there are not too many species) and try to get down to species. Press the plant and then get the ID checked by an expert. It's the process of making IDs and getting them checked which is the key. Of course if you can go out with an expert in the field the process is much quicker. But it's undoubtedly true that Dandelions are difficult!

Chris Metherell
BSBI VC Recorder
North Northumberland

Mark at Magdalen's picture

Thanks for your comments.

Thanks for your comments. Look back at my comments they may have come across as a bit snide but I'm am genuinely interested and encouraged by your comments on the possibility of IDing down to section.

Tim Rich's picture

why I put the pictures up

The reason I've put up these pictures is for an iSpot Bayesian key - to help mere mortals like me get their heads round identification of difficult plants. One photo says a thousand words. I've got the key half way through the development stage and need to test it more before releasing it.

Tim Rich

pcollingridge's picture

Good discussion

This, to me, is one of the best parts of iSpot - the capacity to address difficult topics and having those in the know helping those of us who feel so distant to draw a little closer. Yes, feel free to share ANYTHING that has helped you through this daunting group. I've never bothered to even try to identify the Dandelions, but now I think I'll have a go......... I found the thistles hard enough & they're supposed to be easy! Some keys require practice & it is sooooo tempting to just compare photos, but the discipline pays off eventually.

Many thanks.

Tim Rich's picture


If you are going to do it, do it properly. Get the BSBI handbook, collect say 10 local dandelions properly (inclduing buds and flowers) bewofre end April and send them to Richards - then next year go back to same plants, learn them with thier names, collect another 20 different ones, etc. There is a huge amount still to be done on dandelions, you can make big contributions relatively quickly.

Tim Rich