The Worthiest Weed

By Teo Spengler | October 9, 2022
Image by NIKILAY GLUHOV
by Teo Spengler
October 9, 2022

Who says that dandelions are weeds? It’s not written in the dictionary or the Bible. Yet everyone is quick to mow them out of the lawn. To my mind, if they are weeds, they are the prettiest, most beneficial weeds around. Cheerful, edible, self-nurturing, dandelions have it all.

The Humble Dandelion

Many homeowners hate dandelions. They people turn their noses up at the clusters of yellow puffs that dot the lawn in early springtime. They are immediately termed “weeds,” meaning little more than plants that were not invited to the party.

A weed is nothing more than a plant that blooms in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is true that dandelions propagate without regard to the preferences of the homeowners, but they have so many great qualities, in addition to their happy yellow color, that it is well worth it to keep them around.

Dandelions Are Pretty

Okay, I’ll put it right out there – dandelions are, in my book, completely lovely. Their color is bright and charming, their shape pleasing. I love how they look like little yellow star fish scattered around the green sea of the lawn.

This isn’t my solo opinion either. For many years, in other countries, dandelions were renowned for their beauty. Popular garden flowers in Europe, they were the subject of poems and artwork. In the colonies in the New World, the cheerful face of the dandelion was a welcome reminder of home. In Asia, horticultural societies were formed to enjoy the beauty of dandelions and to develop exciting new varieties for gardeners.

I just don’t appreciate how fickle we humans can be. Before a green lawn became the sign of the American dream, people loved the dandelion both for their beauty and for their food and medicinal value. Gardeners stripped out grass to make room for dandelions. Then suddenly, they were labeled weeds and viewed as eyesores.

Dandelions Are Edible

Anyone who was a fan of the Hunger Games series knows that dandelions are edible. In fact, they saved the heroine and her family from starvation. Though this is fiction, it’s also fact: you can eat dandelions, from taproot to blossom.

As greens, dandelions have high amounts of vitamins including vitamin A, C, and K. They also have many medicinal qualities. Some studies suggest that dandelions help fight inflammation in the body, help control blood sugar, and regulate a person’s cholesterol and blood pressure. Dandelion tea is also recommended to help with an upset stomach or to treat constipation.

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