Can You Successfully Key Out Dandelion?

Yellow dandelion flowers
Photo of dandelions by Bob Jenkins (

Of course you can! We walk you through it!

  • Start at IDnature guides.
  • First, select Wildflowers.
  • Second, select Wisconsin.
  • Third, check off what you know for sure. Note: click “explain” on the website for definitions. Individual answers below.
  • Fourth, hit “search” button on right; review choices on left.

ANSWER: If you ended up with a list of six possible plants, you did it!

Hit “compare images” and choose the correct one! Note the differences in plant size and habitat, which eliminates other possible matches.

Here are the answers to each question if you get stuck.
1. Flower Color – check yellow
2. Petal Number – check over 6 (i.e., they have many petals)
3. Leaf Arrangement – check basal (i.e., leaves emerge at base of plant)
4. Leaf Division – check simple
5. Flower Symmetry – check radial (i.e., many ways to cut flower into two equal halves)
6. Range – check Wisconsin
7. Division – skip it – don’t expect you to know, but it’s Dicotylendoneae
8. Family – skip it – don’t expect you to know, but it’s Asteraceae
9. Flower Cluster – single (i.e., one flower per flowering stalk)
10. Leaf Shape – lobed (i.e., the leaf edge is irregularly shaped with lobes and sinuses)

Check out the key for trees, shrubs, and vines too! Good luck and have fun!