Although dandelions (Taraxacum) are extremely common as a group, there are in fact around 250 different species recorded in the UK some of which are notably rare. SPRG members have been actively seeking out and recording Somerset’s Dandelions since 2016 when a joint BSBI/SRPG Taraxacum workshop was held in the county. Voucher specimens have been lodged with the Somerset County Herbarium in Taunton, which now houses one of the most important reference collections of Dandelions in SW England.

The species so far found in Somerset, with their local/national status and lists of the hectads in which they have been recorded, are summarised in the Taraxacum checklist which is updated periodically.  By the end of 2022, the Somerset list stood at 171 species, excluding ‘square-bracketed’ T. maculosum and T. palustre for which old records are regarded as probably erroneous. As well as the excellent Field Handbook to British and Irish Dandelions, recently published as No. 23 in the BSBI Handbook Series, there is also much useful information on identifying and recording Dandelions to be found on the BSBI website.

If you would like to get involved in Dandelions, do contact simonleach@phonecoop.coop. You can also make use of the Taraxacum recording card to ensure that when you collect a specimen you also gather the various bits of information required for it to be successfully identified. The Taraxacum collection notes explain the best times and methods for collecting samples for identification and preservation.