This perennial herbaceous plant has lobed basal leaves that grow up to 25 centimetres long and form rosettes above the central root. Its yellow flower heads are 2 to 5 centimetres in diameter and grow singly on hollow stems up to 50 centimetres long. When the leaves or stems are broken, they secrete a milk-like latex. The flowers appear between April and October. The flower heads mature into spherical seed heads. Each seed is attached to fine hairs that act as a parachute when the wind blows, dispersing the seeds over long distances.
This extremely common plant is generally regarded as a weed. It grows on different types of waste ground and especially in meadows, along roads and in gardens throughout Europe.