We usually look at this flower as a weed. Here it is peeking out from under my lawn chair. And what is that little speck in it? That is a bee getting nectar to take back to the hive.
How many uses are there for a dandelion anyway? Is there a reason to not dig them out of our yards? There are at least 5 good reasons to keep that dandelion.
- It has tap roots that go deep into the subsoil and bring up nutrients that shallow rooted plants (grass) can’t attain on their own. The dandelion is one of a group of plants that are called “dynamic accumulators.” They make micro nutrients available in the shallow soil when they die. Don’t dig up the dandelion, if you don’t like how it looks chop off the top parts so the root can feed your grass.
- It is one of the first sources of nectar for bees in the early spring. Many flowers do not bloom until the dandelions are puffs and if it is warm the bees will be out foraging. A very good reason not to cut off that bloom.
- Something that I didn’t know until I was sitting and watching the birdlife in my front yard. I saw a goldfinch hopping from grass mound to grass mound. I got out my binoculars and what did I see? That goldfinch wasn’t after grass but the seeds of the dandelion. I knew that they liked small seeds but I hadn’t made the connection with those little puffs.
- The very properties of dandelions that make them good for the soil also make them good for us. Dandelion tea helps our digestion and helps us to detoxify. It is very easy to make dandelion tea, either from the roots or the flowers and leaves. Make sure no one has sprayed any chemicals on your lawn. (I think leaf and flower tea is easier myself). Just go out with a pair of scissors and a container. Snip off the flower and don’t get any stem. Then cut the good-looking leaves and put them in your container. When you get in the house wash them thoroughly immersing them in a pan of cool water. (Remember the bees like the nectar? Other insects do also). Any foreign matter will float to the top of the water in your pan and you skim it off. While you are letting your bounty soak put on a kettle of water. When it whistles put the blossoms and leaves in a tea pot and pour in the water. Let them steep for a few minutes and then drink your healthy tea. It will be a little bitter so I usually add a bit of honey.
- Now this use is not for the faint of heart. Dandelion wine is a traditional beverage that takes care of all ailments. But not necessarily in a healing way. But you won’t care too much about your ailments after a few glasses of dandelion wine. There are lots of recipes, just Google Dandelion Wine!
The next time you look out at your yard just think of all the health that is to be found in those beautiful yellow flowers. And might you admit that they are just a little pretty?