For a bright and cheery little flower, the dandelion sure does create a lot of conflict! But before you wage war on the dandelion flowers growing in your yard, learn about 5 very good reasons to, instead, learn to peacefully coexist. Here, you’ll learn that both dandelion flowers and their bitter greens bring us many life lessons, nutritious food and herbal medicine, and so much more.
Here’s 5 fun facts about dandelion flowers and the important role this little weed that could plays in our every day lives.
5 Things That Will Change Your Mind About Dandelion Flowers
1. There are great lessons in never giving up from the dandelion flower.
We’ve all seen the dandelion flowers growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk. In fact, some of us might have waged a feckless war on them at one time or another. Still, others of us might have spent too many hours spraying them with poisons and cursing them under our breath.
Americans spend millions on pesticides and herbicides every year so that we can have nice, neat, and uniform lawns of non-native grasses, lawns that require ungodly amounts of water to keep them green.
And yet, the dandelions persist. Faced with many an enemy, dandelion flowers continue to grow and flourish wherever they please. Their roots penetrate as deep as 10-15 feet down into the soil, making them incredibly hard to remove in one piece. A broken root will only sprout new life. If you mow them, they only grow shorter stalks to spite you.
And even more so, they have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant and their seeds have the ability to travel up to 5 miles from their origin, ensuring that millions of dandelion potentials are sent out into the world each year.
2. Believe it or not, dandelion flowers actually help to fertilize your yard.
The dandelion root is called a taproot. Generally, taproots are large, dominant, and grow straight down into the soil.
Think carrots. Carrots are one big taproot!
A taproot’s job is two-fold. One, to penetrate deep into the ground to help aerate and loosen compacted soil. Loosening compacted soil serves to increase the soil’s ability to absorb water, thereby reducing the risk of erosion.
And two, that big taproot is a miner. It reaches deep into the soil to mine trapped minerals, bringing them to the surface to be used by other nearby plants. The dandelion’s mining specialties, to name a few, include magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and copper. Accordingly, these minerals brought to the surface by the dandelion actually increase the health and fertility of your soil.
3. Dandelions were once things of beauty to wax poetic about.
Maybe one day, they will again be things charming and inspiring. When you think of beautiful flowers, I’m sure dandelions don’t even make the list. Way back when, they were a beloved garden flower in Europe and in Victorian-era Japan. In fact, the National Dandelion Society was created to admire their beauty and cultivate interesting new varieties.
Poems were written and songs were sung. Many celebrations were had, glasses were clinked, and I’m sure there’s more to that story. The point is that dandelions weren’t always the eyesores they seem to be these days. Once upon a time, dandelion flowers were prized for their beauty and admired for their tenacity.
4. The dandelion holds the sun, the moon, and the stars within our reach.
Out of the nearly 370,000 flowering plant species on this planet, it’s said that the dandelion is the only one that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon, and stars.
The yellow dandelion flower resembles the sun, its ball of seed fluff resembles the moon, and the seeds dispersing in the wind are like the stars scattered across the night sky.
In picking a dandelion flower, you hold all the energy of the sun, the moon, and the stars in your hands. You now have two ways to end your wishes with the stars, across the land by day and across the sky by night.
5. In caring for the dandelion, we’re caring for ourselves.
And the exceptionally excellent thing about this is that the dandelion doesn’t ask much from us, just a space to grow and do its good work. In return, we’re offered food, medicine, beauty, and hope.
In letting the dandelion be, our soils are healthier, the pollinators are fed, and we have ready access to food and medicine for much of the year. It’s clear that the benefits and uses of dandelion far outweigh the any reason you might have to get rid of them. The entire dandelion plant is both edible and medicinal! Up until the 1800s, people would pull grass from their lawns so that useful plants like dandelion and chickweed could grow more freely. We need more of that today.
I hope that one day, we’ll all remember what it means to live in reciprocity with the earth and practice it as if our lives depended on it. It’s a big job to care for this planet and the dandelions need our help. Are you in?!
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