About those dandelions

then shouldn’t we have microspecies as a hierarchical designation beneath species and keep the species level ID as well?

That wouldn’t work because there is no higher species ID; in those genera, distinctive apomictic populations are considered full species. Maybe “(micro)species” would be more precise. Using the term “microspecies” just clarifies that it’s a situation where using normal species concepts (particularly the biological species concept) results in a lot of very similar species. There’s a table in the paper linked here that lists out what level the apomictic populations are typically classified at in different genera, although for many of the genera there are disagreements between different specialists.

well, that’s the thing, i don’t think they should be considered full species. whether it’s semantically correct or not, it breaks the ability to collect biodiversity information or communicate about nature, so it’s a poor way to use our human concept of ‘species’. It’s a human concept, people have broken it, it needs fixing. Would be nice if iNat would get on with this process instead of contributing to breaking it worse.


From what I have gathered, reading this thread, is some people mark dandelions as Genus Taraxacum and mark as good as can be, and others identify to section or species level. Which is the correct one?

It all depends on the context/observation.

If you’re sure it’s of the dandelion genus, and you’re sure it lacks sufficient detail to determine the species, then ID’ing to genus and marking “No, it’s as good as it can be” is appropriate.

If you’re sure it’s of the dandelion genus and believe it can be ID’d to the species level (but you personally don’t know which species), or you’re not sure it can’t be ID’d to the species level, then ID’ing to genus and not marking “No, it’s as good as it can be” is appropriate.

If you’re sure it’s a specific species of dandelion, then ID’ing to the species level is appropriate.


I’m so glad you did! Curtis and I have been emailing back and forth, and I’m so excited! Because… well, you can see for yourself!

This shows the value of developing an eye for detail and noticing what stands out as different. What you think is a common weed might not be.


Wow very cool!

Very cool indeed!