Plants 3.5-10(-20) cm (to 30 cm in fruit); taproots branched. Stems 1-10+, ascending to decumbent (at and after flowering) (occasionally erect), usually purplish, (mostly at or below foliage before fruiting) glabrous, often cobwebby-villous basally. Leaves 10-20, horizontal to patent; petioles usually broadly, sometimes narrowly winged; blades oblanceolate to narrowly oblong, sometimes linear-oblanceolate, 5-12 × 1-2(-3) cm, bases cuneate, margins toothed or denticulate, occasionally with basal lobes, rarely some entire, lobes straight or slightly retrorse, lanceolate to triangular-long-acuminate, teeth narrowly to broadly triangular, straight to retrorse, apices obtuse to rounded or ± acute, faces glabrate or glabrous. Calyculi 9-12, appressed, green, sometimes ± hyaline, often purplish, ovate-lanceolate to broadly ovate bractlets in 2 series, 5-7 × 1.7-4.3 mm, margins hyaline, purplish (at least distally) or white, scarious, apices acuminate to long-acuminate or widely caudate, tips ± rounded, erose, hornless. Involucres green, tips purplish gray, broadly campanulate, 11-16 mm. Phyllaries 12-16 in 2 series, lanceolate to lanceolate-linear, 2-3.5 mm wide, margins not or narrowly scarious, sometimes broadly so basally, hyaline, apices rounded, erose, scarious. Florets: corollas pale yellow, outer abaxially striped pale purplish, 9-10 × 1.5-2. Cypselae pale brown, bodies obovoid, flattened, 2.2-2.7 mm, cones narrowly conic, 0.5-0.7 mm, beaks slender, 6-9.5, ribs 15-16, narrow, faces muricate distal 2/3-3/4; pappi creamy, 4.5-5.5 mm. 2n = 16.
Flowering late spring-summer. Moist alpine meadows in yellow pine forest zone; 1900-2400 m; Calif.
Taraxacum californicum is known only from the San Bernardino Range. It is easily distinguished from T. ceratophorum by the lack of horns on the phyllaries and bractlets of calyculi.