Much Maligned. Highly Underrated?
The common dandelion that you often see in the spring in North America is, most likely, Taraxacum officinale.
How dandelions reproduce by cloning themselves and how herbicides kill dandelions, but not your lawn are two subjects I’ve previously explored here.
But if you’d like some more information about these plants that are seemingly ubiquitous this time of year because of their bright yellow flowers, here are some online resources:
One of best sources I’ve found is: All about dandelions by Dr. T. Ombrello of the UCC Biology Department.
I recently found this most excellent post called Dandelion Folklore, History & Uses by “webscribbler”.
Perhaps to the chagrin of suburban “lawnscapers” who spend so much time and effort and money in eradicating dandelions, did you know that dandelions are actually commercially cultivated in many places in the United States? Vineland, New Jersey, may indeed be the “dandelion capital of the world”. See here and here for why.
Also, did you know that dandelions can be a significant source of latex for the manufacture of tires (or tyres, if you’re outside the USA or Canada)?
It’s true! See here and here, for just two links.
Yes, and because of this, dandelions are plants of interest to biotechnologists in the USA, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Bottom Line: So, despite the fact that millions of pounds of herbicides are used every year to kill them in lawns throughout the USA, dandelions can be used for food and as herbs, to make wine (“mellow yellow”), and even to make tires (or tyres).
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