Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale


Bright little Dandelion
Lights up the meads,
Swings on her slender foot,
Telleth her beads,
Lists to the robin’s note
Poured from above;
Wise little Dandelion
Asks not for love….


By Helen Barron Bostwick


This glowing golden, happy face shining in the grass can brighten anyone’s mood, as long as the desire is not for the perfect, manicured lawn! This native of Eurasia has naturalized throughout North America, southern Africa, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and India. This is probably the most recognized and maybe the most vilified plant in the United States. How many husbands spend valuable time on the weekend trying to eradicate it? They dig it, spray it, and curse it frequently, but if one only takes the time to look more closely they will find one of the most useful plants there is. Dandelion has been used as food, medicine, dye, insect repellant, and compost activator.


 In the tenth and eleventh centuries the Arab physicians were the first to mention what we call dandelion. There it was referred to as a wild endive. In England it was found mentioned in the works of Gerard and Parkinson. In the 1700’s it made an appearance in Canada with the settlement of the French. The Spanish brought it to the New Mexico area around 1820, and the Germans brought it to Pennsylvania possibly as late as the 1850’s


Traditionally Dandelion was prescribed for the treatment of rheumatism, gout and jaundice. The sap can be used as a wash for sores, eczema, and scurvy; taken internally for the treatment of indigestion and upset stomachs.


In the spring the young leaves can be gather and used in salads or as a potherb before the flowers form, after the flowers the leaves become tough and bitter. The roots gathered in the fall, dried, roasted and ground (often with chicory roots) to form a coffee substitute.


Tis May; and yet the March flower Dandelion
Is still in bloom among the emerald grass,
Shining like guineas with the sun’s warm eye on–
We almost think they are gold as we pass,
Or fallen stars in a green sea of grass.
They shine in fields, or waste grounds near the town.
They closed like painter’s brush when even was.
At length they turn to nothing else but down,
While the rude winds blow off each shadowy crown.

By John Clare

3 responses to this post.

  1. can it also be used to make wine? If so, do you have a source for instructions? Thanks


  2. sorry Paul…apparently the link did not come through! Here it is again… http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelio.asp


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