They're "dandy" but deadly
- Ann Wolski
They pop up when you least expect it. They can overrun your yard with a sea of yellow and though pretty to look at, they can destroy all other living things. The origin of the dandelion is not known but probably came for Central Asia. It's name is a mispronunciation of the French "dent de lion" or "lion's teeth."
Dandelions have been the source of many old legends and beliefs. It is said that if the seeds are blown away by the wind in early morning, there will be good weather. If the seeds leave the stalk without having been blown by the wind, it will rain. If you can blow away all the seeds in three puffs your mother does not want you home. However, if any seeds are left, hurry home fast! After blowing hard count the seeds that remain to find out how many children you will have.
The English used dandelion roots as a spring tonic and was said to purify the blood, benefit the liver and help with rheumatism. The Irish used the dandelion as a tonic and cure for heart disease. The juice when rubbed on warts, supposedly, caused then to disappear.
Every part of a dandelion - leaves, stem, flowers and roots - are edible. Dandelion greens are an important source of vitamin A. Sauteed dandelion buds can be used in omelets; the petals in sandwiches; the stems and blossoms for making wine. By roasting the roots, dandelions become a coffee substitute and sometimes mixed with coffee. The roots contain a substance that is used as a laxative. The roots of a species of Russian dandelion produces latex from which rubber is made.
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