With the recent announcement of Crayola retiring their dandelion crayon, I’ve had dandelions on my mind. Also, I’m stupidly annoyed with this because I don’t understand the need to retire perfectly good things. Come on, guys, just start making more colors instead of getting rid of old ones! I have similar feelings about Ben and Jerry’s choice to retire my favorite flavor of their ice cream… but well, that’s a story for another time.
Growing up, we’re taught that dandelions are all weeds, to be chopped apart and destroyed by the lawnmower. Not flowers for mum, not even pretty. I actually love dandelions.
Okay, so they’re common. But you know what else? That means they’re fruitful and hardy. Good for them! I have fond memories of weaving dandelion crowns and necklaces when I was a kid and giving them to my friends or wearing them myself like the faerie princess of the schoolyard. That’s a trick you cannot (or should not) do with roses – ouch. Dandelions are the ambassadors of summer and one of the last pieces you whisper goodbye to as autumn drifts around the corner.
In America, many turn up their noses to feeding from nature or herbal remedies, but our common dandelion actually has an incredible history. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the dandelion is an incredibly nutritious plant with ample quantities of vitamins A, B, C, and D. As if that wasn’t enough, dandelions also provide potassium, iron, and zinc.
Dandelions originated from northern Europe and Asia, although they an now been seen all across the world in the northern temperate zone. Historically, the spreading of the weed was purposeful to use in medicine, food, and wine. The Chinese used it to aid in digestion and lactation. In India and Russia, it had been medically used to treat liver disease and appendicitis. The name comes from the French, dent de lion which translates to “lion’s tooth”. The dandelion has it’s roots (haha) all over the world.
And, I won’t lie, I am one of the peculiar adults that will still see a dandelion with its fluffy white head at the end of the season, inhale, and try to blow away all the seeds into the wind and make a wish.
This post was written as part of the April A-Z Challenge. For 26 days in the month of April (excluding Sundays), a post will be written for each letter of the alphabet. April fifth is “D” and so I chose “Dandelion” as my topic. Do you have any childhood memories with dandelions or other “weeds”? How about recipes for dandelion salad?
Click here to see my other A-Z posts.