Krigia virginica (L.) Willd. - False Dandelion

Krigia virginica plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - Scapes to +15cm tall, glabrous or with glandular pubescence, terete, +/-1.2mm in diameter, multiple from base, from fibrous roots, with much milky sap.

Leaves - Nearly all basal, +/-8cm long, +1cm broad, spatulate to oblanceolate, coarsely toothed to pinnately lobed or entire, glabrous or with glandular pubescence.

Krigia virginica leaves

Krigia virginica leaves

Inflorescence - Single flower head terminating each scape.

Involucre - 6-8mm tall, 4-5mm broad. Phyllaries glabrous or with very sparse glandular pubescence externally, glabrous internally, in essentially two series, linear to subulate, 5mm long, to 1.5mm broad. The inner phyllaries with scarious margins at least in the basal 2/3.

Krigia virginica involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Ligules yellow-orange, to 7-8mm long, 1-2mm broad, glabrous, 4-5-notched at the apex. Achenes chocolate-brown at maturity, -2mm long, with 15 ribs, retrorse strigillose. Pappus of 5 barbellate bristles to 4mm long and 5 erose scales to -1mm long.

Krigia virginica flowersFlowers close-up.

Krigia virginica fruitsInfructescence.

Krigia virginica acheneAchene with pappus.

Flowering - April - August.

Habitat - Prairies, meadows, rocky or sandy open ground, glades.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This little species can be found mainly in the southern half of Missouri. This species can easily be grown from seed and would look good in a cultivated rock garden. It is an annual plant.
The plant can be identified in the field because of its small size, bright yellowish-orange flowers, and coarsely toothed leaves.
K. virginica can be confused with a similar species, K. dandelion (L.) Nutt., but the latter has larger flower heads, more bristles and scales making up the pappus, and potato-like tubers on the roots. K. dandelion is a perennial plant. K. occidentalis Nutt. is also similar but occurs in only a handful of southeast Missouri counties. This species differs from K. virginica in having only 5-8 phyllaries per flower head that remain erect in fruit.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-19-02, 5-2-02, and 4-5-03.