Dandelions can be useful? Who knew?

Dandelions seem to be over-taking our yards. They are nothing but trouble and yet I feel they have gotten a bad rap. I get a fresh dandelion bouquet every few days from my child that I cherish dearly, so they do make me happy.

With a big glass of water within reach, my bored nephew and I hit the Internet highway in search of everything dandelion that Google could tell us. I thought the first few sites listed would be about how to get rid of dandelions. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find numerous sites telling me of all of the nutritional value that dandelions have.

Upon further investigation, we found recipes for soup, salad, dandelion wine and tea, as well as body creams and art projects.  One website in particular grabbed my attention as it talked about many aspects of dandelions, from garden tips to articles and book recommendations, to “did you know” facts.  I will be honest in that we did not know the following facts about dandelions: (http://mydandelionisaflower.org/did-you-know/)

  • The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puffball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
  • The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves and flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
  • Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
  • The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely toothed leaves.
  • Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
  • Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!

My nephew and I thought these were pretty cool facts. It makes me wonder what other interesting things we could learn by searching the Internet on specific topics when we are bored…