Let’s get this out of the way upfront: The dandelion is not—we repeat—is not technically a weed.
It doesn’t appear on the USDA’s Federal Noxious Weed List despite fact that the dandelion shares weedy characteristics—it’s not native to the U.S., spreads like crazy, and is nearly impossible to eradicate.
So, what the heck is it then?
Botanists consider it an herb, one that’s vitamin-rich and boasts tremendous healing properties. Others contend that it’s a wildflower—a point that’s hard to argue. After all, it’s a member of the aster family, which is one of the largest plant families in the world and features many members that we would consider flowers.
It could be that the dandelion holds a unique position in the plant kingdom, being part herb and part flower and part something else altogether.
Don’t Like Dandelions? Blame the Pilgrims
Next time you find yourself spending hours in your yard trying to uproot these sunny little flowers, thank the Pilgrims. They brought it from Europe where the dent de lion—that’s French for ‘the lion’s teeth’—was prized for its medicinal properties. They even used it as a cure during the plague.
Their Roots are Really, Really Long
Don’t kid yourself if you think you can kill it by cutting the root an inch below the surface. The dandelion is like a hydra: if you cut off the head, more will grow in its place.
Unlike other flowers, which have spindly little roots, dandelions boast sturdy taproots that can extend up to 15 feet under ideal conditions. That allows them to draw nutrients up from deep within the earth.
It Makes a Really Good Salad and a Wine
Where some see a weed-ridden lawn, others see lunch.
The dandelion’s sawtooth leaves give spinach a run for its money as one of the most nutritious salad ingredients. The age of the dandelion greens will determine how to best prepare them. The older they are, the more bitter they are. Older greens are best served blanched or sauteed.
Meanwhile, save the flowerheads for winemaking. The petals lend a pleasant astringency to your white wine.
If you are losing the war on weeds, call the experts at Purple Care. Our Purple Pros offer a full spectrum of services for weed control in Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Contact our team online or by phone at (817) 369-3138 to schedule an appointment today!