There are well over two hundred species of dandelion in the UK and 130 or so have been recorded by Mike Porter, my colleague, or John Richards in Brecknockshire. John was the expert at the workshop I went to in Bangor over the weekend and is shown below explaining the characters of Taraxacum faeroense.
Three days of intensive taraxology haven't made me an expert but I will no longer be walking by every dandelion I see, muttering "Taraxacum agg." and moving on to more readily identifiable species - I hope.
I did learn a lot though and in a little excursion today was able to decide on a section (there are 9 broad sections for the genus) for the dandelions I saw at Henallt Common and even make a stab at a species for a few. But most were not suitable for taking home and pressing - an essential stage in identification for many. Maybe I will see some on Thursday... (The examples at Henallt were few and mostly too far advanced to be the ideal specimen.)
This was the highlight, Taraxacum palustre, Marsh Dandelion or Dant-y-llew’r gors at Newborough Dunes. It has been recorded in Brecknock, but not recently, and makes a good target to look out for as it is fairly easy to identify from the simple leaves and the habitat if favours (as well as other things).
We saw other plants as well including this New Zealander at Aberffraw:
Cardamine corymbosa, New Zealand Bitter-cress or Berwr chwerw Seland Newydd which was new to me and is apparently spreading through the country in pavement-type habitats. So to watch out for in Brecon and Hay etc.
And, of course, we saw some great scenery: