“Dandelions are just friendly little weeds who only
want to be loved like flowers.”
― Heather Babcock
“Pee the bed.” Not Shakespearean is it? Dandelions, it turns out, have diuretic properties. Who knew? (Well, obviously the French people, but not me.) Needless to say, my awareness concerning dandelions is embarrassingly minimal:
–When you rub a dandelion on a siblings face, the sunshine yellow color stays a long, long, time. 🙂 Mwahahaha.
–They are one of the earliest flowers to appear in spring. At least in my part of the world, Minnesota. When I was a kid, my dad said I could start going barefoot for the summer if I showed him a dandelion. To him, it meant the ground was warm enough for my penchant for going shoeless, and it remains one of my favorite “spring is finally here” signs.
–Grandma made jelly out of the dandelion heads. It tastes a little like honey. Here’s a link to a recipe I found online: https://www.homestead-acres.com/how-to-make-dandelion-jelly
–Mom sometimes made homemade wine from dandelions. No comment.
–Dandelions are not universally loved by those with pristine lawn aspirations. My normally sweet husband despises the poor little things and stabs and jabs at their roots. I just back away slowly during these episodes.
So that got me to thinking.
If dandelion consumption can make one pee, what other things don’t I know? It turns out quite a bit.
–At a recent Prairie Partners meeting (wildones.org), the speaker gave a plea to leave dandelions in the yard. (I elbowed my husband who brilliantly ignored me.) Dandelions are important early food for our struggling bees.
–Dandelions are entirely edible, and full of vitamins, according to Dorothy Dobbie, publisher of Manitoba Gardener Magazine. “The leaves, the flowers, and the roots are edible. A cup of dandelion greens would give you about 112 per cent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin A and 535 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin K, and other things like calcium, iron, and magnesium.” (Be mindful that dandelion root is high in polysaccharides, so it should be avoided if you are sensitive to FODMAPs (carbohydrates that can cause digestive problems).
Dorothy also offers the following:
–Dandelions are not native to North America. Europeans brought them to North America because they’re chock full of so many good things.
–The English name “dandelion” comes from “tooth of the lion” in French
“Dent de lion” in French translates to “tooth of the lion” in English. The weed was given its name because of the way the leaves are etched — some people thought the leaves looked like a lion’s mouth.
–Dandelions are perennial, and that means they come back year after year if you don’t do something to make that impossible, and they’re very successful seeders. Their seeds are on little parachutes that go flying wherever there’s a breeze, landing in all kinds of interesting places. They’re very good at putting down the little fork bottoms of their seeds and embedding themselves in the earth and springing up again.
–There are several superstitions involving dandelions, including making a wish and blowing off all the dandelion seeds to make a wish come true
When I was a kid, says Dorothy, you’d hold a dandelion under your chin, and if it showed yellow under your chin, that meant you like butter. It goes to show that dandelions have been part of our daily life for a long time. They become part of the myths and the magic of who we are.
The other night, at the Northern Exposures Photography Club, a member, Tom Willett, gave a presentation about wildflowers and weeds. He showed numerous photos of dandelions–from bud to bloom to seed head. I also delight in those little flowers for their photographic opportunities.
Be they weed or wildflower, they seem so determined, so happy, and so indifferent to abuse that I have to admire them!
Where do you, um, “stand” on dandelions? Love or hate?