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Browse these dandelion pictures just for their beauty. But did you know that every part of the dandelion is edible?
Everyone has heard of this flower's bad side.
Why not take a moment and examine these dandelions as the herbs that they are? You might be pleasantly surprised.
This pesky weed of a flower that kids enjoy spreading when they have reached their seed ball phase, actually have some pretty amazing and surprising benefits.
As a matter of fact, you may just find yourself wanting to cultivate them. Or not...
You might accuse this flower of being pesky at best. Perhaps that's why it goes by many names: Common Dandelion; Blowball; Lion's-tooth; and Peasant's Clock.
So I'll let you get on with enjoying the view.
Italians and other thrifty Old World immigrants, who go about with sack and knife collecting the fresh young tufts, give the plants pause; but even they leave the roots intact. One look at these dandelion pictures will tell you why.
When boiled like spinach or eaten with French salad dressing, the bitter juices are extracted from the leaves or disguised--mean tactics by an enemy outside the dandelion's calculation.
Though this may have been the common belief in 1917, herbalists have since shed a little light on this lowly weed. For instance in early spring you can find a rosette of leaf stem under the dirt or mulch. These make excellent salad ingredients when blanched.
As the plant grows and the leaves get larger the flower buds remain buried in that rosette base. These make a good vegetable. Once the flowers reach their full height the leaves of the dandelion are too bitter to eat. But the flowers can still liven up a salad or even be used in cooked dishes.
Then after that first hard frost in the fall the leaves lose their bitterness. And you can once again enjoy them in your salad. Where else in nature can you find a more abundant source of food at just the right price?
And when I say the entire plant is edible I mean all the way down to the root. Just like it's cousin the Chicory, roasted dandelion roots are sometimes used as coffee substitute or as an additive. But the dandelion root has an added touch.
It is believed that dandelion root will strengthen the liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. For this reason, it acts as an antidote to many of the detrimental effects of coffee.
All nations know the plant by some equivalent for the name, dent de lion, meaning lion's tooth, which the jagged edges of the leaves suggest. And the Botanical name, Taraxacum officinale (T. Dens-leonis), means "the official remedy for disorders".
Even though the dandelion has a reputation for being one persistent weed, it is really a good source of many nutrients. One ounce of fresh leaves contain large amounts of vitamin A and calcium. They also have substantial amounts of vitamin B, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, and trace elements.
Like many other wildflowers cultivating the seeds in proper soil makes them easier to obtain. The roots of these plants can grow so deep in the wild that they will be impossible to harvest.
But add them to your garden and you have an almost free endless source of great nutrition. They grow best in porous soil in raised beds. This way the roots are easily pulled when ready.
Dandelions are ready for consumption in their second year.
Do these dandelion pictures bring back memories? After flowering, it again looks like a bud, lowering its head to mature seed unobserved. Presently rising on a gradually lengthened scape to elevate it where there is no interruption for the passing breeze from surrounding rivals, the transformed head, now globular, white, airy, is even more exquisite, set as it is with scores of tiny parachutes ready to sail away.
A child's breath puffing out the time of day, a vireo plucking at the fluffy ball for lining to put in its nest, the summer breeze, the scythe, rake, and mowing machines, sudden gusts of winds sweeping the country before thunderstorms--these are among the agents that set the flying vagabonds free.
In the hay used for packing they travel to foreign lands in ships, and, once landed, readily adapt themselves to conditions as they find them. After soaking in the briny ocean for twenty-eight days --long enough for a current to carry them a thousand miles along the coast--they are still able to germinate.
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