Taraxacum officinale, or dandelions, are wildflowers that grow as weeds in your yard, native to temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. They have decorative yellow flowers that are open during the day, closed at night, and within a few days will go to the seed head that every kid recognizes. The seeds are blown off the head and scatter in the wind.

They have been used, world wide, for centuries for cooking to medicine, and even magic. There flowers are a member of the daisy family and botanists consider them an herb as the entire body from bloom to stem is edible.

Dandelions have a tap root. The leaves are 2-10 inches, simple, lobed and form a basal  rosette (the arrangement of leaves that sit near the soil and do not expand) above the central taproot. They are a rich source of vitamins C and A and potassium plus iron. They have been used for dental issues, baldness and dandruff, liver function, and even mental ailments such as depression and lethargy. Some believe that roots and leaves can reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system. They are hard to get rid of as if the tap root is split it will clone itself into a whole new flower. They do grow best in a sunny area and do not thrive in the shade. Dandelion tea is perfect for helping the digestive system while boosting your immune system and even aiding in weight loss. Limited research has also shown that they are helpful at reducing the damage caused by UV rays on the skin.

If you’re not hungry, or just don’t want them popping up all over your yard, one thing to do is leave the grass a little high. This will shade out the sun to the plants. Do not cut when there are puff balls present, as you’ll just be seeding the lawn. Cut them when they are yellow flowers.

You can pluck them out one by one, but just trying to pull them up usually doesn’t work as the tap root can be up to 10 inches deep. They make a tool to eradicate them. Vinegar and Salt is also recommended to kill the plants. If you want a chemical (that’s what I would do if I cared) make sure it has the ingredient called Glyphosate.

In some magical belief systems, the dandelion is associated with growth and transformation. They are associated with the goddess Aphrodite because of her connection to bees. The bright, early yellow flowers are most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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