The Dandelion Needs More Respect

Koyote By Koyote, 23rd Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Plants

While some view the dandelion as weed that needs to be destroyed, it is actually an important wildflower.

The first spring wildflower

The dandelion is much more than a common weed. Sometimes called the Lion Tooth or Blow Plant, the plant has been known to be helpful for centuries. New research indicates the plant may be more valuable than previously known.

There's many good qualities to be found in the dandelion.

For many, the dandelion is a step below a lowly, nuisance weed to be destroyed on sight, the nightmare weed on manicured lawns, golf courses, vacant lots and open fields. For others, the dandelion is a money maker, the chemicals applied to kill it are popular with those who abhor the common spring “weed”.
Despite the dandelions poor reputation, it is an important wildflower. It is one of the very first flowers to bloom in the spring and is an important first source of nutrition for the imperiled honeybees and other native pollinating bees. These pollinators are a vital link between the farm and the kitchen table; the insects are needed to pollinate a wide variety of foods we consume from carrots to nuts, to squash and apples.
Home gardeners would be hard pressed to harvest vegetable produce without the pollinators which thrive on the early spring wildflowers. Beekeepers also rely on the dandelion to provide the first spring meals to their hives; beekeeping is an ancient art struggling in a world of pesticides designed to kill.
For hunters and nature observers, it is the pollinators, who are nourished by the dandelion, which then pollinate many wild food crops which becomes the harvest for our native wildlife; wild apples, berries, grapes and forest nuts such as acorns, hickories and beechnuts.
The dandelion is also an important and nourishing food source for people. The young, flavorful leaves, rich in vitamins and important minerals, are often eaten in salads or cooked like spinach or other greens. Dandelions can also be used in soups and stews, and as a basis for a tasty wine or rustic beer. The roots can also be used when they are dried and make a coffee or tea-like substitute. The National Institutes of Health has more information on the home uses and nutrition levels of the so-called “weed”.
But there is more to the dandelion, than a food source. For centuries, the dandelion was regarded as a valuable medicinal plant. In some cultures, it was used as a blood cleanser, a tonic and even used to treat snake bites. The dandelion roots are rich in an antibiotic called inulin which can also be found in other common root crops such as sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes, onions, leeks and asparagus. It is always best to check with with medical professionals regarding the home use of any medicinal plant.
The gets-no-respect dandelion was also an important plant during and right after World War 11; it was widely regarded as a valuable source of rubber when the rubber plantations were cut off and war supplies running low. Today, research is ongoing into the possibilities of using the dandelion as a rubber source as a blight, microcyclus ulei, kills the rubber trees in traditional rubber tree producing areas.
There's more to a dandelions worth than meets the springtime frown as the yellow flowers bloom.

Tags

Bees, Dandelion, Medicinal, Natural, Natural Remedies, Natural Resources, Nature, Pollinators, Rubber Plant

Meet the author

author avatar Koyote
Freelance writer, Topics I generally write about are nature, environment and history. Enjoy the outdoors.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Tony Barnes
24th Sep 2011 (#)

What a great article...I have often thought about the unfairness when my neighbors complain about dandelions in my yard...because of their fear it will cause them to come to their yard.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Koyote
24th Sep 2011 (#)

Thanks, Tony. Your neighbors wouldn't like my yard :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar GV Rama Rao
25th Sep 2011 (#)

Every small piece in nature has its purpose. I suppose this theory can be extended to humans also.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Koyote
25th Sep 2011 (#)

I agree 100 percent; there are many, many examples. Thanks for th comment GV

Reply to this comment

author avatar GV Rama Rao
25th Sep 2011 (#)

Every small piece in nature has its purpose. I suppose this theory can be extended to humans also.

Reply to this comment

author avatar MIZNANCY
23rd Apr 2012 (#)

i agree. i think they are so cute and sweet. i love to take pictures of them. i think they are magical when they turn into the soft white ball of wishes. lovely write. thanks

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password