I remember making Dandelion dolls. If we split the stem of the flower, the stem would curl up and form two feet.
By Jean Sudbury
Yes, we used our imaginations in those days. These dolls had big yellow heads and we could make them walk. They tasted quite good, too. They had a tartness and crunchiness, a bit like the yellow-flowered clover (Oxalis). These ‘’pesky weeds’’ are pieces of my delightful childhood memories.
I remember a book by Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine. This book, written in 1957, is a collection of short stories. It describes life in a fictional town, Green Town, Illinois, in 1928. The metaphor of the title is the joys of summer all packed up in a bottle of home-made dandelion wine. The simple joys of yesteryear are illustrated.
From Chapter 3 (Dandelion Wine) — Dandelion wine is presented as a metaphor of summer here, bottled for the winter season of illnesses and wheezing.
Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.
I came across this piece of writing by Emily Dickinson:
The Dandelion’s pallid tube / Astonishes the Grass, / And Winter instantly becomes / An infinite Alas – // The tube uplifts a signal Bud / And then a shouting Flower, — / The Proclamation of the Suns / That sepulture is o’er.
The Dandelion has an amazing history. The name we call it, dandelion, comes from the French description: Dents Lioness, and Dent de Lion. From Medieval Latin and French; both names describe the shape of the leaves, which resembles the ‘’Tooth of the Lion.’’
The Dandelion was used in ancient China as a medicinal herb.
The Arabs recognized its use in the 11th Century. They shared this valuable information with Europeans, who added it to their regular diets.
In 1620, the Dandelions arrived with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. They were introduced to the indigenous people of the area as a culinary delight, and soon they grew everywhere.
Dandelion uses and benefits
The Dandelion greens are used in salad. The flowers are used in Dandelion Wine. The root is used in Root Beer, as well as being roasted and used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute.
The benefits included major sources of vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium.
Pesky weed, I don’t think so. It is suggested that the rich vitamin and mineral content is found through the taproot, which is able to reach down to the rich subsoil, the mother-load of soil nutrients. Dandelions are effective diuretics, and can ease urinary infections and liver problems. They ease gall bladder problems and constipation. They have high potassium content, so they do not leach potassium from the body, as prescription diuretics can do. How convenient is that? It is said that dandelions relieve rheumatics and gout. This means that the Dandelion eases inflammation. The latex, (that milky stuff) from the leaves and stalks can be used to treat corns and warts.
Hail Hail to the Dandelion, the Dent de Lion, Clock Flowers, Wetweed, Cankerwort, Puffball, Priests Crown, Wild Endive, and Piss-a-beds. There are many creative names for this charming little flower.
Mediterranean Dandelion Salad
Extra virgin olive oil
Mix a ‘touch’ of balsamic vinegar, a bunch of dandelion, a ‘dash’ of salt, add evo to taste, and mix with few drops of lemon juice.
Optional: Add chopped tomatoes to taste.
Jean Sudbury is a long time resident of California. She shares her love of nature through gardening, making music, and creating natural art forms in her garden.
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