Taraxacum



Taraxacum officinale Webb (Images by Ashwini Bhatia, Nidhan Singh, Alka Khare, J.M.Garg (Id Gurcharan Singh), Dinesh Valke, D S Rawat, Alok Mahendroo (Validation by Gurcharan Singh) & Gurcharan Singh (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links)) 

https://groups.google.com/group/indiantreepix/attach/feb5d73b0e1c677d/IMG_8475_iPhone.jpg?part=0.1.1&authuser=0

 

Pl. go through Taraxacum page (Asteraceae (Compositae)) with images of species in efloraofindia (done by me).

If you find any mis-identification, pl. let us know.

If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), it will be really nice. Also, if anybody is interested to take up the activity of inserting images on efloraofindia pages from efloraofindia posts, pl. let us know.
 
I think it is important to emphasise just how CHALLENGING dandelions (as they are commonly known as in the UK) are to identify.
Grierson & Springate within 'Flora of Bhutan' Vol 2 Part 3 (2001) observed, "Taraxacum  in our area consists of sexually producing and apomictic taxa.  The latter in particular are poorly understood at present.  Specimens not closely corresponding to the descriptions given here can only be identified to the appropriate section.  Lawn weeds and other damaged specimens often produce uncharacteristic growth that cannot be reliably identified.  Unlobed leaves are sometimes produced in summer. A specimen that only bear such leaves cannot be reliably identified".
They list both T.mitalii and T.eriopodum.
Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal had most of the specimens determined by the authority of the time, van Soest author of 'Taraxacum species from India, Pakistan & surrounding countries' (1963) and 'New species of Taraxacum from the Himalayan region (1961) but these publications are 50 years out-of-date.
Stewart in 'An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular plants of Pakistan & Kashmir' (1972) comments: 'Dandelions are found throughout West Pakistan and Kashmir from the plains to the high inner ranges with a Tibetan climate.  They are exceedingly variable apomicts and it is a question whether they deserve descriptions as good species.  At least 90 of these forms have been described and if one wants to pay special attention to dandelions there are probably many more to be found.  Van Soest, after a recent trip to Kashmir has described many new species... I give the following list which I have culled from literature.  Many have not been seen by me.
Some would include most of them under T.officinale Weber (a species aggregate)'.
He records T.eriopodum from Baltistan & Kashmir @ 2700-3600m.
In the UK, where the genus has been more intensively studied, it is judged as VERY CRITICAL with (as of 1997) 229 microspecies being currently recognised!  Apomixis is the rule.   Professor Stace states in 'New Flora of the British Isles' that in this work the microspecies are not treated in full but are aggregated into 9 rather ill-defined sections, determination of which is often not easy EVEN AFTER MUCH EXPERIENCE.
Most botanists in the UK seek the help of those with specialist knowledge and experience of the genus.
Taraxacum is NOT well enough known in the Himalaya to do more than HIGHLY PROVISIONALLY name specimens.
Perhaps there is a current specialist who can be consulted but even if they exist, may well NOT be able to reliably identify from just one or two general photos.
Thank you for the information. I agree that images are not sufficient for the ID as these were taken long back when I did not have much idea about the plant photography 
Indeed, Taraxacums are PARTICULARLY difficult but there are other genera that present special challenges identification-wise and these need to be HIGHLIGHTED/known. 
I note from reading requests for identifications to eFI that very few of those submitting such requests are aware that such genera exist.  It comes as a surprise to them when plants cannot be readily named.
Furthermore, both in the UK and India, there is a widespread belief that almost all plants can readily be identified by quickly comparing a general image or two (or specimen or two) with a SINGLE photo in a guide-book/flora.
Whilst in SOME cases, for DISTINCTIVE species this is possible, for MANY plants it is not.
Such an approach/belief leads to frequent misidentifications.
TRADITIONAL PLANT IDENTIFICATION IS BASED UPON THE EXAMINATION OF PRESSED SPECIMENS IN HERBARIA BY THOSE WITH SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE.  CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS WHICH CAN BE SEEN ON SUCH SPECIMENS ARE USED TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SPECIES.  OFTEN THE IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS CANNOT BE SEEN FROM ONLY 1 OR 2 NON-CLOSE-UP PHOTOS/IMAGES.
THOSE PHOTOGRAPHING PLANTS NEED TO KNOW WHICH PARTS OF EACH GENUS IT IS OFTEN ESSENTIAL TO HAVE CLOSE-UP IMAGES OF, TO ENSURE A PLANT CAN ACCURATELY AND RELIABLY BE IDENTIFIED.

The 2016 Yearbook of the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI) lists a Panel of Referees and Specialists who are willing to be sent
either specimens or photos belonging to a range of 'difficult' genera.
These include a person for Taraxacum.
Whilst Notes on identification works and some difficult and under-recorded taxa towards the 2020 BSBI Atlas states for Taraxacum that MOST recorders will NOT be able to identify the microspecies and so should record all examples found as Taraxacum agg.  Those who do attempt to record microspecies should consult their local expert and or the BSBI Referee. 

 
Fwd: Taraxacums in Kashmir : 1 post by 1 author.
Whilst checking 'Plants of Gulmarg' (Naqshi, Singh & Koul) for records for Digitalis,
I spotted observations as Dandelions:
"Taraxacums are found throughout Kashmir from plains to high altitudes. Van Soest recently described about 16 species of Dandelions from this area. Since Dandelions are highly apomicts, need critical examination along with cytological studies, so
that one can reach a definite position about the good species of this genus".
The authors list these species but make no further comment.