Dandelion Taraxacum spp

Also known as: wet-the-bed, old man's clock

Best time to see: Apr to end Jun

Key facts

Golden-yellow flowers with jagged leaves, followed by the familiar 'clock' of seeds, blown at by kids to tell the time

Flowers all year, but especially April–June; some 200 micro-species have been recognised in Britain

Many insects collect nectar from dandelions, and finches eat the seeds


The leaves, although bitter, can be used in salads, the flowers for wine, and the roots as a coffee substitute

Long used as a diuretic and laxative, hence its common name 'wet-the-bed' or 'piss-the-bed'

  • Main photo

Photo © Tony Gunton