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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - January 24, 2007

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Why is non-native, invasive dandelion called a wildflower?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Why is a dandelion a wildflower? {I read it in a book.}

ANSWER:

There is not universal agreement on how the term "wildflower" is defined. Some would say that any flowering plant that grows and reseeds itself without help from humans is a wildflower. Others maintain that a wildflower is any plant found growing in wild places. Finally, some would define wildflower as a plant found in the region where it evolved.

Common dandelion, Taraxacum officianale, is a native or Eurasia. As an introduced, exotic plant in North America, it is not considered a "wildflower" by very many people. In fact, most classify it as a troublesome - if not noxious - lawn weed. Of course, in its native lands, it would rightfully be classified as a wildflower there.
 

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