Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Dwarf Dandelion: Krigia oppositifolia or Krigia caespitosa

dwarfdand2-21d.jpg (221464 bytes) Weed Description:  A light green to bluish-green winter annual that develops  a rosette of irregularly shaped leaves and then produces a flowering stem with many yellow flowers.  Plants contain a small amount of 'milky' sap which is evident when the plants are cut.  Dwarf dandelion is primarily a weed of pastures, roadsides, lawns, and turfgrass.  It is found in the southeastern United States.  The scientific name of this plant has recently undergone a change from Krigia oppositifolia to Krigia caespitosa.
Leaves:  Plants initially develop a basal rosette of leaves.  Leaves are lanceolate in outline, with the widest portion of the leaf at the apex and tapering down toward the leaf base.  Basal leaves range from 1 1/4 to 4 1/2 inches in length and 2 to 15 mm in width.  Basal leaves have margins that are either irregularly wavy or distinctly lobed.  Leaves that occur along the flowering stem are generally smaller than the basal leaves and more linear in outline. dwarfdand2-21.jpg (158203 bytes)
dwarfdamd2-21c.jpg (67498 bytes) Flowers:  Many flowers occur on long flower stalks (peduncles) that arise from the area between the leaves and stems (leaf axils).  Flowers consist of many yellow ray flowers that are 'toothed' and are approximately 6 to 10 mm long each.
Stems:  Branching, ranging from 2 to 20 inches in height, depending on the environment.

Roots: Fibrous root system.

Fruit: An oval, reddish-tan nutlet.

dwarfdand2-21b.jpg (45193 bytes)
dwarfd4-8.jpg (51690 bytes) Identifying Characteristics:  The irregularly wavy or lobed leaves that develop as a basal rosette, yellow flowers, and winter annual growth habit are all characteristics that help in the identification of dwarf dandelion.  Virginia dwarfdandelion (Krigia virginica) is similar in appearance, however this weed  has leaves that are more distinctly lobes, has much longer flower stalks, and has larger yellow flowers.