Today, I went out to the park specifically to find Dandelion flowers. I wanted to try a recipe from The Kitchen Witches Cookbook which features closed Dandelion flowers opening up into a sea of cooked egg. After meeting Joop Eisenberger, who was trying to make one of his beautiful photos of a Lepelaar (Spoonbill), I had a good look around. However, it seems I had left it too late or the day was just too over clouded to open up the flowers. I found just a few flowers but took advantage of finding the plants and harvested a handful of Dandelion leaves. All will be eaten this evening. Notice how the exaggerated leaf teeth point down towards the ground?
One Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis agg.) look a like is flowering quite prolifically in the park today. It seems to be Common Cat’s-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) or Lesser Hawkbit (Leontodon taraxacoides). I’ll need my Field guide and magnifying loupe to hand, to decide which but either way they are both edible and not just a pretty distraction to the Dandelion forager! They are both hairy, whereas Dandelion is always smooth. Dandelion is always very bitter and these two are almost always not bitter. The leaves and roots of the Hawkbit and Cat’s ear are generally the interesting parts for foragers.
Here on my photo you may be able to see that the plant has leaves quite like Dandelion, has stub ended petals on dandelion like heads and it’s spend flowers tip down towards the ground like Coltsfoot.