The Common (and often cursed by lovers of undisturbed green lawns) Dandelion is a classic member of the Cichorieae as are a number of similiar genera.Cichorieae is derived from the Greek kicohore, meaning chicory. Chicory , dandelion (Taraxacum), Salisfy (Tragapogon), and many genera similar in appearance to these are members of the Dandelion Tribe. In Cichorieae only ray flowers are present and the plants usually have milky sap.



Burnt Orange Dandelion

The specimen shown above was growing in high altitude meadows at 10,500 feet along the Contnental Divide Trail in Colorado. Agoseris is greek for a lettuce like plant. Aurantiaca means orange-red. Likes open, sunny, grassy meadows with moderate moisture.


Gravel Ghost

Gravel ghost grows along roadsides and in dry desert washes. The specimen above was observed in the Mohave Desert in Death Valley, California. Note the spectacular basal leaf. Atrichoseris means a hairless, lettuce like plant. Platyphylla means flat, broad leaf. These photos were taken in early March, 2007 while wandering along washes near the Mud Canyon Road in Death Valley. Temperature, even in March, was in the 90's Fahrenheit. The sun was a living present, lighting stunning vistas in every direction. To the southwest salt flats shimmered. Everything was amazing open with views of tens of miles in every direction.



Chicory is offen seen as a roadside weed along desert highways, growing in bright sunshine where a little extra moistur is available. Intybus is the latin name for Chicory. Think of a roadside climbing a wide canyond. Nearby is a wash bordered by Gambel's Oak. Herbaceous species cluster in the small wash adjacent to the roadside. Bright light blue flowers wave in the breeze. Chicory is from half a meter to a meter tall, with sparse leaves and conspicuous flowers.



Prickly Lettuce

Prickly Lettuce grows in open disturbed ground and could be considered an invasive weed. Prickly lettuce is a good indicator of recent soil disturbance and is found on road banks and in disturbed meadows. It also grows in areas recently burned. Specimens have been observed in vacant lots around Los Alamos, New Mexico and in the Hayman Burn area of Colorado.


Rush Skeletonplant

Rush skeletonplant, like prickly lettuce, often occurs in sandy disturbed ground. The specimen here was found in Garden of the Gods, Colorado. Lygodesmias are the skeletonweeds mentioned in Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitare". Almost leafless skeletonweeds like lots of sun.


False Dandelion

Pauciflorus means few flowers. The plant here was growing at Hermit Camp in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Hermit camp occupies a sandstone canyon cut through the Tonto Plateau about 1,000 feet above the inner gorge of the Colorado River. Cambrian Hermit shale holds up the plateau. This dandelion like specimen grew on sandy soil among lichen dotted sandstone boulders and slopes sparsely covered with acacia.


Desert Chicory

Desert Chicory is found on sandy or gravelly soils. This specimen was growing in the desert at 2,400 feet just east of Sheep Bridge, Arizona. Sheep Bridge spans the Verde River about 40 miles North of the megapolis of Pheonix, Arizona. Deep pools in the Verda and sandy beachs invite desert rats, rafters, and swimmers to informal campsites near the Bridge. Its a long drive over bumpy roads from Pheonix, but really worth the trip. Saguros form a forest on mesas to the East of Sheep Bridge and Palo Verde line the desert washes.



Milkthistle is found on roadsides in sagebrush or cultivated land. Sonchus is greek for sowthistle and arvensis means "of cultivated land". This specimen was growing on a ranch roadside in Western Colorado. The flowers are a bit battered from September rains. A storm swept through the area, drenching fields of Big Sage (Argemisia tridentata) just before this picture was taken.



Skeletonweed or Wire Lettuce grows at lower elevations in gravelly desert soils.The specimen here was photographed on the West Side of the Sandia Mountains at 6,400 foot elevation.


Common Dandelion

The common Dandelion brings welcome (or unwelcome depending on ones view) to suburban lawns in spring and summer. The hefty specimen here was photograped on the Western shore of Grand Lake, Colorado in meadows of Matricaria near the lakeshore.



Salisfy inhabits dandelion country but is more common in disturbed ground near roadsides and less common in suburban lawns.The specimen here was growing in meadows by Grand Lake Colorado between the high and low water lines.