THE HUMBLE DANDELION

The Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), probably a native of Europe is now a cosmopolitan weed in this country, dismissed by most gardeners as being particularly troublesome when they decide to grow in otherwise well-manicured lawns! This reminds me of the interesting poem, Dandelion, by Jon Silkin:

Slugs nestle where the stem

Broken, bleeds milk.

The flower is eyeless: the sight is compelled

By small, coarse, sharp petals,

Like metal shreds. Formed,

They puncture, irregularly perforate

Their yellow, brutal glare.

And certainly want to

Devour the earth. With an ample movement

They are a foot high, as you look.

And coming back, they take hold

On pert domestic strains.

Others’ lives are theirs. Between then

And domesticity,

Grass. They infest its weak land;

Fatten, hide slugs, infestate.

They look like plates; more closely

Life the first tryings, the machines, of nature

Riveted into her, successful.

Far from simply being a weed, dandelions have proved to be useful plants both as salads (leaves) and medicinally (roots). Dandelions are also used to make healing teas, wine and skincare products – by those who have the knowledge to do so. Apparently the buds, flowers and leaves can eaten fresh any time you want a healthy snack!

That is the more serious side of dandelions. What about the irresistible urge so many people – not only little children – feel to blow the puffball of the puffy white dandelion seeds apart?

Like so many people the world over, I believed from early childhood that this was an opportunity to make a wish. Some people are certain that the seeds will carry one’s thoughts and dreams – if that were so then I feel sure there can hardly be a puffball left as we blow them apart in order to connect with our loved ones during this long period of lockdown – thank you COVID-19! Take a moment to watch the video here to see why the seeds float so well: https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-dandelion-seeds-are-so-good-at-floating

Whatever beliefs you may attach to them, there is great visual appeal in watching the parachute-like seeds waft away in the breeze. As dandelions generally thrive in difficult conditions, they are thought to symbolise the ability to rise above life’s challenges – something we all need to work at during this pandemic.

21 thoughts on “THE HUMBLE DANDELION

  1. One of the best spring pollinator plants! While I pluck them out of my gardens, I let them go in the lawn, where about half the plants are ‘weeds’ with pretty flowers like violets, veronica, and ground ivy. A veritable feast.
    Interesting to learn about the fluffy seeds aerodynamics. Wonder what we will do with that info? Personal flying machines?? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Because of the lockdown, the verges and parks have been left, and now so beautiful with little ox eye daisy’s, and abundant dandelions 😁 I picked a big bag full this afternoon having left plenty for the bees, to make a lovely yellow dye 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love dandelions – but other half detests them and is constantly pulling them out. I think they are very pretty flowers. When I was a teen a friend of mine had to draw a dandelion (flower) for her A-Level exam – quite the most difficult flower to draw! And of course I love the clocks. I wasn’t able to watch all of the video because of the visual effects (I get migraines) but what I did watch and read was interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment about drawing a dandelion flower prompted me to have a closer look at my photograph: hats off to your friend for I can imagine the difficulty and delicacy involved trying to put that complex shape onto paper!

      Liked by 1 person

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