"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I know many people dislike dandelions but they make me happy. Growing up, the rule in our household was if you could present Mom with 12 dandelions you were allowed to go barefoot no matter what the temperature. After months of bundling up for cold weather, being barefoot was freedom!
What’s in a Name
The Dandelion leaves are shaped like lion’s teeth so the common name may come from the Greek leontodon, the Latin dens leonis or the old French Dent-de-lion which all mean tooth of the lion.
I’m Not the Only One that Like Dandelions
Dandelions are one of the first blooming flowers and are an important source of nectar and pollen early in the season. When the soil is warm enough for dandelions to bloom, we know the soil is warming up everywhere, and that soon we will see other spring flowers.
Not a Native Species
Dandelions are well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. They were brought to the new world by early settlers intentionally to use for food, medicine, and flower gardens. The whole plant is edible and the abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals helped people stay healthy.
It is said:
-If you rub a blooming dandelion under your chin and your skin turns yellow, you like butter.
-If you can use one breath to blow all the seeds off a dandelion your wish will come true.
Legend says the elves and gnomes could hide behind rocks and mushrooms to get out of the way of the human feet but the sun fairies decided to turn themselves into bright yellow dandelion flowers. And now even if we step on a dandelion unknowingly they are able to spring back up. This old legend accounts for the dandelion’s almost supernatural survival powers. The story also says that when we blow their seeds we are transporting the fairies and in return they may grant us a wish.