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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It’s Quite Dandy

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The early arrival of unseasonably warm weather has brought lots of invasive wildflowers to The F&P  yard like chickweed, birds- eye speedwell, purple deadnettle, henbit AND bright yellow dandelions.

The name of this perennially, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves and jagged flower petals is presumed to have originated in France. The French term dent de lion meaning lion's tooth  was translated in English to dandelion.

DSCF8687Early uses for this wildflower were for food, a dermatological and gastrointestinal aid, cure for sore throats, analgesic, blood purifier, sedative, laxative, diuretic, love potion, and general tonic for good health. Dandelion leaves are used to treat high blood pressure because of their ability to reduce the volume of fluid in the body. Dandelion root has been shown to stimulate bile production and to cleanse the liver. The root is also considered one of the most effective detoxifying herbs.

IMG_0078Dandelions are still consumed; dandelion leaves are boiled like spinach or mixed in salads.  Baby dandelion leaves are often found in haute cuisine (Fr. for high cuisine, an elaborate and skillful manner of preparing food).  The dried dandelion root has been used as a coffee substitute.
  • The flower opens in the morning and closes in the evening.
  • It’s thought to represent three celestial bodies – yellow flower (the sun), puff ball (the moon) and dispersing seeds (the stars).
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower.
  • Before the 1800s, folks would pull grass from their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
  • The average American knows the names of less than five plants growing in his/her yard, excluding dandelions.
  • Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant. Seeds can be carried up to 5 miles from their origin.
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15 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Yup - we get lots of these bright yellow "dandies" every summer!

Cicero Sings said...

The sun, the moon and the stars. I like that. A versatile plant.

Maple Lane said...

Very interesting! These are always plentiful!!!

Daisy said...

I love the part about the sun, moon, and stars. I had never heard that before. My grandma used to pick the leaves and cook them kind of like spinach, but I never ate any of them. It's a little early for dandelions here, but with the warm temperatures we are supposed to have this week, it won't be long.

Anvilcloud said...

They can be pretty -- in someone else's yard.

Out on the prairie said...

They always were presented to my mother upon first arrival and she was always thrilled

Sandra said...

i love wild flowers and these are one of my favorites and now that i know all this interesting info i did not know before, i like them even more.

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

No Dandelions here yet but I'm hoping that they'll show soon :-) We have almost 100 species or 1 species and 99 subspecies of dandelion only in this country :-)

The swedish name translated to english sounds a bit disgusting really, worm rose :-) Doesn't sound that bad in swedish though :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

HermitJim said...

Thanks for all the information, most of which I didn't know!

You know how much I love these kinds of facts, right?

Elaine said...

Lovely photos and interesting facts about the dandelions. We certainly get a bumper crop of them every year. My mom used to cook the dandelion greens and considered them a treat. I never found them appetizing, so all those leaves languish in the fields around us or get ruthlessly dug out of our lawn by Marty and tossed away.

Doris said...

How interesting. Pulling out the grass to give them room....what??

Many elderly people around here talk about making dandelion wine. Some people used it as medicine...at least that's what they tell ya =)

Enjoy these beautiful days!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Mona & Mildred, while invasive, dandelions are at least colorful.

Eileen & Daisy, that was quite an interesting analysis I thought as well. I know that my Italian grandparents used the leaves in salad and I believe they made wine.

AC, that can be said about all the invasive wildflowers, but we seem to have an abaundance now.

Steve, I can also remember picking dandelion bouquets - ah, the bliss of childhood memories.

Christer, worm rose really is not an appealing name so I prefer dandelion, but wondered about the Sweedish name too.

Hi HermitJim, yes I DO know how you enjoy these fact-filled posts. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Elaine, we don't even try and dig these out of the lawns because it is a useless task. It is still fun to blow the puffballs. I've never wanted to eat any.

Doris, it did seem odd that the grass would be pulled so the dandelions could grow better. I have never sampled them either in salad greens or as wine.

NCmountainwoman said...

Ours are out as well. Hmmm...I never knew they closed at night. Learn something new everyday.

TexWisGirl said...

i think they're very pretty (even though they get out of hand!)

thanks for your visits and comments!

Country Mouse Studio said...

It is an amazing and truly beautiful flower too bad it's so prolific :O(

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