Native to the Mediterranean region of western Europe, Crepis vesicaria is recognized by its annual or biennial habit, pinnately lobed leaves, reflexed calyculi, tomentose and glandular phyllaries, and slender, long-beaked inner cypselae. It is polymorphic; subspecies are recognized in Europe. E. B. Babcock (1947) identified the North American plants as subsp. taraxaciflora (Thuiller) Thellung, which some Europeans (T. G. Tutin et al. 1964–1980, vol. 4) have listed as a synonym of subsp. haenseleri (Boissier ex de Candolle) P. D. Sell.