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Dandelions

One of the most common and reviled harbingers of spring... the dandelion.

A dandelion glowing in the sun

Photo: gari.baldi (Flickr)

Its botanical name is "Taraxacum officinalis" but it is often called "blowball" because of its efficient round seed head which it holds aloft.

Euell Gibbons wrote about one of the most common and often reviled harbingers of spring.  He said, “I learned to love dandelions when I was a small child.  Not only did I enjoy the delicious dandelion greens my mother gathered and prepared, but the bright yellow flower, with its wonderful composite construction, fascinated me.  I never believed that spring had really come until I saw the first dandelion in bloom“.

While children love these flowers, and it is heart-warming to receive a bunch a child has picked, adults have varied reactions to this plant.  Some gardeners, who are especially lawn-proud, dig them out with a vengeance.

There are tools especially designed to get down to those long roots.  What a triumph it is to get the root out without hearing that ominous cracking sound of it breaking off.

Taraxacum Officinalis

Its botanical name is “Taraxacum officinalis” but it is often called “blowball” because of its efficient round seed head which it holds aloft.  It is an ingenious design that is nowadays popular model for water fountains.

The leaves are rich in vitamin A, and are best if picked when they are tiny and stemmed lightly.  Of course avoid using ones that may have chemicals on them.  Dandelion wine is also a possibility.  Henry Ward Beecher described these cheerful daisy type flowers as “garden kisses”.

This is Moya Andrews and today we focused on Dandelions.

Photo by gari.baldi

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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