Krigia dandelion (L.) Nutt. - Potato Dwarf Dandelion
Family - Asteraceae
Stems - Flowering scapes to +/-35cm long (tall), terete, hollow, 2-3mm in diameter, striate-nerved, glabrous except at the apex below the involucre, simple, typically 1-2 per plant but can be many more. Hairs of the scapes below the involucre glandular (the glands at the tips of the hairs are purple). Roots of the plant long and fibrous, with large nodular growths. All parts of the plant with milky sap.
Arrow shows nodule of root.
Leaves - In a basal rosette, entire to coarsely (2-6) dentate, acute, linear-oblong, bluish-green, often glaucous, glabrous except at the very base (adaxially), to +/-15cm long, +/-1.5cm broad.
Inflorescence - Single flowerhead terminating the flowering scape.
Involucre - Involucre to 1.5cm long, uniseriate. Phyllaries distinct, linear, -1.5cm long, 2mm broad, bluish-green, glabrous.
Ray flowers - Fertile. Corolla tube to 6mm long, whitish, glabrous to sparse pillose. Ligule yellow-orange, to +1.5cm long, +2.5mm broad, sparse pilose externally, glabrous internally, 5-toothed at the apex. Stamens adnate at the apex of the corolla tube. Filaments short, to 1mm long, glabrous. Anthers connate around the style, +/-5mm long, yellow-orange. Style exserted beyond the anthers, antrorsely barbellate, typically undivided. Pappus in two series (biseriate). Outer series of +/-10 short lanceolate scales to -1mm long. Inner series of +/-20 capillary bristles to -1cm long. The bristles barbellate. Achenes with +/-15 ribs, mostly glabrous except on the angles where they are antrorse strigose, +/-3mm long at maturity, brownish-black at maturity. Receptacle flat, naked.
Disk flowers - Absent.
Flowering - April - June.
Habitat - Prairies, glades, bluffs, sandy fields, open woods, roadsides.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This handsome species can be found in the Ozark region of Missouri. It can be identified by its large yellow-orange flowerheads, basal leaves, milky sap, and large root nodules. Another species, K. virginica is similar but lacks the root nodules and has much smaller flowerheads. Both species can grow side by side.
Photographs taken somewhere in North Carolina, 4-26-03, and in Hunter, AL., 4-9-05.