Oh the bunny trails I have traveled this morning. One thing leads to another, and that thing led to the purchase of three books on Amazon. The world inside my head would frighten most mortal humans. It is best I keep some sense of control over the goings on up there.
Weed or Wild Flower?
Like most things in this world, it is a matter of perspective and personal experience. Either way, there is something magical about dandelions. They are so prolific that it is easy to take them for granted or to dismiss them as a garden pest. Dismiss them or embrace them, the choice is yours. My goal is not to change minds about the benefits vs invasive nature of dandelions; my goal is to shine light on the mystical and magical nature of the plant and how we can all learn a thing or two from the common dandelion.
Dandelions belong to the genus of flowering plants called Taraxacum, which is native to Eurasia and North America. One reference stated that the plant was brought to the North America on the Mayflower because of its medicinal properties. The common dandelion familiar to those of us in North America is T. officinale.
The English word for dandelion originates with the French dent-de-lion, meaning lion’s tooth, a reference to the shape of the leaves.
Dandelions are one of early spring’s most important nectar sources for a variety of pollinators.
Taraxacum are a tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plant.
After flowering is finished, the florets dry up and fall off. The bracts (a two layer, green leaf like structure on the under side of the florets) relax outward exposing the seed head waiting to explode with hundreds of delicate white pappus. The pappus, with its delicate hair like projectiles, is what enables the seeds to float in a breeze. This is what we often call the puff ball or a blow ball.
I am leaving you today with the image of the pappus. There is so much to unpack with the dandelion and the life lessons we can all learn from this humble little plant.