The humble dandelion derives its name from the French phrase Dent de Lion (the “tooth of the lion”) due to the plant’s jagged green leaves. Considered a pesky weed by many, the dandelion has an interesting story to tell.
The dandelion is part of the sunflower family, a native of Greece, and has been used for centuries as a food, medicine and cosmetic. The plant is high in calcium, iron and vitamins A & C and its leaves are sometimes found in salads. A tea made from the steeped flower is drunk as a tonic, especially for ailments of the liver. The same potion can be used as a facial treatment to tone and clarify the skin. And the milky sap in the plant’s stem has been used to cure warts and alleviate the pain from bee stings.
Poetically speaking, the dandelion has been likened to all three celestial bodies; the yellow flower representing the sun, the white “puff” the moon, and the floating seeds the stars in the sky. And because the flower opens each morning and closes at night, it has proved fascinating to writers and symbolists alike.
Alas, some home gardeners don’t appreciate the modest flower. They grow like mad, are perfectly-designed to spread, and can have a tap root up to 15 feet long (though 18 inches is far more common). Those wanting a pristine, monoculture front lawn will feel embattled by the omnipresent plant which only wants to be everywhere.
The glasses above, made in the 1970’s, capture the ethereal, delicate dandelion in its final stage—just before its seeds are blown away. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.