If You Go Down To The Woods Today - Volume 2 Issue 1

No Mow May. The request is simple. Please don’t mow your lawns in May.  It’s a bid to help the bees and other pollinators get through to Summer with as much food available to them as possible. So what flowers can you expect to see popping up during these last few weeks of Spring? This week I am concentrating on one and it’s a real dandy.

The Dandelion

“If you find yourself worrying, go outside, take three breaths, address a tree and quietly say ‘Thank you.’ If you can’t find a tree a dandelion will do.  Nature is magic.” Robert Bateman -Artist

The Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a flower that, as the climate has become warmer, is available to us all year round.  The deeply toothed leaves form a rosette that grow in accordance with their surroundings.  An area that’s mown regularly or well-trodden will have small leaves that are as flat to the ground as possible.  Dandelions that are in the hedgerow or have found a home in a long forgotten flowerpot will have large and very obvious leaves.  The photos below explain what I mean.

The first one was found on hard clay and as you can see it is small and quite dark in colour.  The second was found in recently disturbed ground and is altogether more light in colour and dare I say it, more succulent looking.  The size difference is obvious to see but they both have amazing taste and medicinal properties.  More on that later.

Mythology

If a child is to sniff the yellow flower, then they will stop bed wetting for a whole year.

It is the flower of St Bride and she is the patron saint of cattle, fertility and butter.

Why dandelion? There a few reasons I have found;

  • Dent de Lion is French for Lion’s Tooth, the shape of the teeth on the leaf or the shape of the massive taproot. It looks like a canine belonging to the big cat.
  • The yellow is very similar to the heraldic yellow used to depict lions on coats of arms.
  • The flower looks like a lion’s mane.
  • It’s a dandy. 

History

In WWII the tap root of the dandelion was roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The darker the roast the stronger the taste.

The leaves are used as a salad leaf but that is more in Europe and North America.

Toilet paper is a modern luxury.  The large leaves of the dandelion certainly stand in during an emergency.

Medicinal Uses

The dandelion is packed full of vitamins and nutrients.

Eaten or drunk as a tea dandelion can help with liver function, UTIs, gall bladder issues, skin complaints, bladder issues and sweating.

Be aware though, another French name is pissen lit.  Drink the tea way before bed time or else you may be in trouble.

So, Next Time You Are Out And About…

Enjoy the blaze of bright yellow wherever you see it.  Try not to mow your lawn for a few more weeks.  Embrace it. You can feel confident that the dandelion has been sapiens friend for countless years, food, drink and as a wishful toy.  If you see the head in seed carefully take it, make a wish and blow.  If the seeds come off in one puff, you never know, it may come true.

Until next time.

Greg. Check out my instagram, here

 

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