I’m doing a bit of work today, even thought it’s Memorial Day, but also taking some time off to photograph and bike. The subject for the day, in honor of the weeds in my yard that have not been pulled, is the dandelion. The scourge of lawn fascists everywhere, who want pristine, weed-free, green grass carpets, it’s a lovely plant when it goes to seed.
It has an interesting cultural history, if the names for it and medicinal and food uses for it are an indication. According to WebMD, it’s been used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises, to increase urine production, as a laxative to increase bowel movements, a skin toner, blood tonic, digestive tonic, and to treat infections and cancer. In foods, dandelions are used as salad greens, blanched, in soups, and in wine and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute. In large enough doses, it might make you ill.
From Wikipedia: The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth,” referring to the coarsely toothed leaves. The plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown and puff-ball; other common names include faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine’s snout, white endive, and wild endive. . . . The colloquial German word Pusteblume (blow-flower) refers to the children’s game of blowing away the seeds of the ripe flower.