Dent De Lion is French and means 'teeth of the lion', which aptly describes the flower of this hardy plant.
The first mention of the dandelion goes back to the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries. This medicinal plant was referred to as sort of a wild endive and called taraxcacon.
In Wales, there is reference to the plant as early as the thirteenth century.
Dandelions are seen throughout history. Ancient Egyptians, Greek, Romans made use of them and the plant is a staple in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. (I also hear they make good wine!)
It is thought that dandelions came over on the Mayflower, not as a pesky stowaway but purposely for their medicinal qualities. Dandelions have been used to help the liver remove toxins from the bloodstream, as a diuretic and the help the digestive system work at peak efficiency.
At one time, these sunny blossoms were a favourite in gardens in Europe. And what is more fun for a child then to run through a field full of 'lion's teeth'? If said child can catch a flying dandelion seed, he or she gets to make a wish.
The dandelion contains more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes and are full of iron, calcium and potassium.
As any gardener can tell you, dandelions are masters of survival. They are fast growers - going from bud to seed in days - and a plant can live for several years. The root, which sinks deeper over the years, can go down 15 feet. The root clones when divided and one inch of root can grow a new dandelion. They also grow in the strangest places; a dandelion can push its way through gravel and cement to thrive in otherwise barren areas.
The plant has a deep taproot, which pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil. It then makes the nutrients available to other plants and fertilizes the grass.
So the next time you decide to eradicate all the dandelions on your lawn pause for a moment. Considering all the benefits of this much aligned plant, is it really necessary to destroy it?
Thanks to A Modern Herbal website and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website for the information on the dandelion.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, dandelion, history, Dent de Lion, medicinal British Columbia,weed,fertilizer