DANDY DANDELIONS


| 5/29/2019 5:38:00 PM


Country MoonAt this time of year, most folks can be heard cursing all those little yellow faces that  turn up in lawns, gardens and just about everywhere. Those pesky little dandelions are weeds that no one wants, especially after they go to seed and the white spheres of seeds protrude above the lawns. Every year Americans spend millions of dollars on lawn pesticides to have uniform, weed-free lawns.

The definition of a weed is “any plant growing where it is not wanted which is in competition with cultivated plants.” Maybe we should re-classify the dandelion and upgrade it from weed status since science now tells us that its leaves, roots and flowers are all useful and good for us. It’s funny how things come full circle because in the 1800’s when folks depended on herbs and the natural things around them for medicine, they would actually pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions to grow. People are once again realizing the benefits of this misdiagnosed “weed.”

The name dandelion comes from the French word dent de lion meaning lion’s tooth because of the plant’s coarsely-toothed leaves. Today, in France, the word for dandelion is pissenlit which means “pee the bed,” because dandelions are strong diuretics.

Technically, dandelions are herbs and not weeds and the plants are pretty complex. Although we lump them altogether, actually 30 various plants make up the species. Some are biennial and some are perennial. It is the only plant that represents the three celestial bodies. The flower represents the sun, the seed ball is the moon and the scattering seeds are the stars. The flowers open in the morning to greet the day and close in the evening to sleep.

Some have roots that go down as far as 10 to 15 feet which help individual plants survive up to 13 years in undisturbed areas. They have one of the largest flowering seasons of any plant and seeds are carried up to 5 miles. No wonder they are so hard to eradicate.



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