When does this bloom?
Where does this bloom?
Common along roadsides.
The name dandelion is derived from the Old French, dent-de-lion, which literally means “lion’s tooth”. It refers to the sharply-lobed leaves of the plant. Dandelions are perennial, tap-rooted plants which are native to the Northern Hemisphere in all its temperate areas . Commonly known as a weed, this plant is actually very commplex with a variety of macrospecies. Over 250 species have been recorded in the British Isles alone.
The leaves of the dandelion grow at the base and can range from 5 to 25 cm long. They can be entire or lobed and form a rosette above the taproot. As this plant grows, its leaves will grow outward along the ground covering up any vegetation and eventually killing it by blocking off the sunlight. The plant produces a bright yellow flower head which is open during the day and closed at night. Dandelion plants can produce multiple flowering stems with flower heads ranging from 2 to 5 cm in diameter. However, there is only one flower per stem and it can rise as high as 4 to 30 cm above the leaves. The stem of a dandelion plant will discharge a milky sap if broken.
Despite being labeled as a pest or weed by many lawn owners and gardeners, the dandelion does have a few culinary and medicinal uses. The dandelion plant can be eaten cooked or raw in dishes such as soups or salads; for these purposes it is grown commercially but on a very small scale. It would probably be most easily compared to characteristics of mustard greens. Dandelion salads are often topped with hard boiled eggs. The leaves of the dandelion are very high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C and also contain more iron and calcium than spinach. Dandelion flowers are also useful and can make wine and jams. When the root of the dandelion plant is ground up and roasted it can be used as a substitute for coffee. Drinking this before a meal is believed to stimulate digestive functions.
In Canada the dandelion root is registered as a drug and sold as a diuretic. Dandelions have such a strong effect in this sense that children have been known to wet their beds at night after having skin contact with the plant. There is a leaf decoction that can be drunk for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and nervousness.