Friday, April 19th, 2013...7:53 am

The Dandelion (Part I)

Abandonando el hogar by gonzalo_ar

Everyone knows the dandelion. And everyone knows that the common name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.The Latin name is Taraxacum officinale.

The flowers at this time of year are quite lovely, but everyone knows the seeds will soon emerge and as soon as they do, dandelion seed will spread everywhere -by the wind, by children blowing the seeds, by animals rubbing against the seed ball or animals and birds. They say that the seed can spread as far as 5 miles from the original site.

The dandelion is not a native of North America and East Asia, but has become an invasive in these parts of the world because it prevents native plants from growing. Dandelions readily colonize disturbed and over-grazed habitats.

They are found in heavy, clay, compacted acidic soil, so if you see a lot of dandelions in your lawn, have a soil test done. However, dandelions also grow in fertile well-drained soil.
Dandelions do have beneficial aspects. Many animals like cattle, bear and deer, insects such as honey bees and ladybugs and birds such as the American goldfinch and white-throated sparrow eat the dandelion and many use the dandelion as protection. To see which animals, birds or insects visit this website.Every part of the dandelion is useful for humans: roots, leaves, flowers. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring. Dandelions are rich in beta carotene, vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. (see here)

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