Celebrate a Dandelion Spring

Canned, frozen and fresh dandelion greens are available at some of your grocery stores. Dandelion seeds are offered in some seed catalogues. Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine sells more than 700 pounds of dandelion seeds each year. Considering a single round dandelion puff may contain 200 seeds, each with its own wings, that is a LOT of dandelion plants to add to a world obsessed with getting rid of dandelions.

So why would we want to get rid of them? Not everyone does. For centuries, people have used dandelions for medicinal and culinary uses. According to herbalists, dandelions have more medicinal and nutritional properties than any other single plant on earth. For some people, they are plants of last resort to provide nutrition and medicines during times of scarcity, depression or war. Yet people spend billions of dollars trying to get rid of them at great hazard to people, pets and ecosystems. Instead of listening to advertising that tells you how offensive they are you could change how you see them.

Fresh dandelion leaves collected in the early spring before the flowers show colour, are the mildest tasting, served steamed or in a salad. Yet, flowers, leaves, and roots offer endless possibilities for the creative cook or natural healer. With unusually high levels of Vitamin A , it is a cost effective supplement. Look carefully at the leaves in a package of mixed salad greens and dandelions will likely be present.

By changing how you see dandelions, not as a weed but healthy and useful, you have eliminated a ‘problem.’ There is no need to get rid of them from your lawn, you save money not purchasing weed control products and services, and you have reduced the toxic hazards to your family and pets. The first sunny dandelion faces remind us spring has arrived at last. It is so much easier to just appreciate them!