Annuals or perennials, 10-80 cm; fibrous-rooted, sometimes tuberous, or with short caudices. Stems 1-20+, simple and scapiform or sparingly branched, glabrous, tomentulose, or coarsely hirsute. Leaves basal; petiolate (petioles winged). blades oblanceolate, margins entire or dentate or deeply lobed (faces glabrous or hispid, hairs simple or minutely 2-3-fid). Heads borne singly or 2-5 in loose, corymbiform arrays. Peduncles slightly inflated, naked or minutely bracteate. Calyculi of 10-20, subulate to lanceolate bractlets in 1-2 series (unequal), glabrous, tomentulose, or hirsute. Involucres campanulate, 4-15 mm diam. Phyllaries 16-20 in 2+ series, narrowly lanceolate, subequal, glabrous, tomentulose, or hirsute. Receptacles convex, pitted, sometimes slightly villous, epaleate. Florets 20-30; corollas yellow to orange (outer sometimes with reddish or greenish stripes). Cypselae light to dark brown or reddish brown. fusiform or cylindric, curved, distally narrowed and not beaked, or beaked, ribs 10-14, faces muricate, glabrous; pappi of ± distinct, yellowish white, tan, or pale brown bristles in 1-2 series (all uniformly plumose or outer reduced; pappi of outer cypselae sometimes reduced to crowns of bristlelike scales). x = 4, 6, 7. Leontodon is recognized by the basal rosettes of pinnatifid leaves, scapiform stems, loosely imbricate phyllaries, yellow corollas, and plumose pappus bristles. Some species are somewhat doubtfully distinguished by an overlapping mixture of vestiture and pappus characters.
Fls all ligulate and perfect, yellow; invol ovoid or oblong, imbricate or calyculate; receptacle alveolate or fimbriately villous, not chaffy-bracted; achenes narrow, subterete, several- or many-nerved, long-beaked or merely narrowed upwards; pappus of plumose bristles, sometimes with some shorter outer nonplumose bristles or scales, or that of the marginal achenes wholly of the latter type; lactiferous herbs with well developed basal lvs and a naked or merely scaly-bracted scape, monocephalous, or the heads terminating the several branches. 50, temp. Eurasia.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.