Even though Dandelions are so cute, many regions classify them as a weed. The Latin name of the plant is Taraxacum officinale. It refers to the plant’s medicinal properties as discovered by the Greeks. The name ‘Dandelion’ is a portmanteau of a phrase in France – ‘dents de lion’. The literal meaning is the lion tooth. If you have seen the plant’s leaves, then you would notice how they are shaped similar to the tooth of a lion.
Chinese medicine has been using dandelions for nearly a millennia. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had thorough information about the plant. According to them, the flower helps in the treatment of kidney, liver, and stomach disorders, skin irritations, heartburn, gall bladder diseases, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, constipation, toothaches, and fevers. They were also considered to be anti-toxin and mild diuretics.
The Dandelion was not only known for its medicinal properties. One of the other common uses was making dye. It was the primary source of a pale yellow dye. The leaves’ inner ribs were used to create a purplish dye.
As for the plant’s origins, Botanists believe that quite a few species were firstborn in North America. However, early settlers from Europe had brought over two of the most common dandelion species to North America because of their nutritional and medicinal benefits. They are the red-seeded variant and the standard variant. Since then, both variants have become natural in the continent.
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These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Dandelion facts! Read on to find out all about the wonderful plants:
- Dandelions represent 3 different celestial bodies at 3 different phases of their life. The plant’s yellow flower represents the sun. The dispersed seeds look like the stars. Finally, the puffy dandelion ball has a similar appearance to the moon.
- The seeds (the parts of the plant that fly away) can travel for 5 miles after being dispersed!
- Every part of the flower part has some use – flower, roots, and leaves. It can be used for food, medicine, and coloring dye.
- The leaves of the plant have tooth-like features at their edges. They can be 2 to 10 inches in length. The plants themselves can be 17 inches tall.
- The flower is made of multiple miniature flowers, each one a distinct individual. These are known as ray florets. It opens when the sun rises and clamps up when the sunsets.
- Dandelion can be an allergen for some people. However, its pollen is not an allergen.
- They are also called ruderal or pioneer plants as they are usually the first plants that colonized disturbed lands.
- Various insects carry out the pollination of the plant. The yellow flower transforms into a puffball. This ball has several fruits within it called achenes. The seeds feature a disk-like parachute extension that acts similar to a parachute. That’s why they can float for so long and so easily.
- One cup of raw chopped dandelion greens contains 112% of the daily required vitamin A intake. At the same time, it only has 25 calories.
- 19th Century English pharmacists had made tea using roasted roots of the flowers. The tea remains popular to this day.
- They belong to the daisy family.
- One head of dandelion is made up of as many as 300 ray florets. If you look closely they will look similar to tiny petals.
- Dandelion Wine, the 1957 novel by Ray Bradbury, is named after the wine made and drunk in summer.
So how many of them did you know? Let us know in the comments!