Monday, April 11, 2011

Macro Monday - Dandelions

The common dandelion is found all over the temperate world. While we in America curse it for infesting our lawn, it is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen.

A perennial plant, its leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact. The plant is edible in its entirety. To make leaves more palatable, they are often blanched to remove bitterness. Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Sephardic, Chinese and Korean cuisine. The flower petals, along with other ingredients, are used to make dandelion wine. The roasted, ground roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion leaves contain abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.

Dandelions are used as folk remedies in North America, Mexico and China. Culturally it was used to treat infections, bile and liver problems, as well as cancers, and as a diuretic. There is evidence to suggest it may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women. 

So the next time you see those pretty yellow flowers gracing your front lawn, have a little more respect for the humble dandelion.

See more Macro Monday


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I love that first picture. Many might call them weeds, but I do think they are so cheerful!


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Lovely colours!
I agree, they are not "bad" flowers, we just decided it this wau. It's a shame, really.

Leedslass said... [Reply to comment]

Reading your fascinating post re. "wee-the-bed" (a term used in childhood, shows that even an atom of truth must have shone through.
We always believed that if you got the white sap on your finger then you'd wet the bed (hence the term).
HOWEVER, reading your article that it was used to help UTIs this old wives' tale appears to have a grain of truth:-) Who'd have guessed that?

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

I have never heard of dandelions being called wee-the-beds before. It must be a British thing.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for your comment. It led me to explore your interesting blog.

Linda said... [Reply to comment]

Love your photos!! Glad I found ya!!
(I love dandelions - but even better is eating the greens!!)