20 Things About Stuff - your

kids might not know

20 THINGS THEY SHOULD KNOW

ABOUT DANDELIONS

  1. Dandelions scientific name is Taraxacum

  2. Though bees enjoy the dandelion pollen, they cannot live of dandelions alone. When dandelion pollen was feed to solitary bees (not honeybees, mind you) larval development was stunted or incomplete. Studies indicated that dandelion pollen was short in essential amino acid

  3. When you say the word “dandelion”, people think weed. Only in the twentieth century did humans decide that the dandelion was a weed. Before the invention of lawns, the golden blossoms and lion-toothed leaves were more likely to be praised as a bounty of food, medicine and magic. Gardeners used to weed out the grass to make room for the dandelions.

  4. "Dandelion" is an English corruption of the French name for this plant: "dent de lion" meaning "lion's tooth", a reference to the tooth-like serrations on the plant's leaves. It was known as lion's tooth in other Latin based languages in Europe, too, so the English corruption may have evolved separately numerous times.

  5. The Dandelion is an herbaceous perennial growing from a thick, un-branching tap root. The deeply toothed leaves are basal, meaning they don't grow up on stems, but emerge from the crown of the plant at ground level. 

  6. Dandelions are native to Eurasia, but have been introduced to North America, South America, India (where it hadn't reached naturally), Australia, New Zealand and probably anywhere else where Europeans, the people, have migrated.

  7. Some scientists think the evil Eurasian Dandelion has lots of close cousins around the world, which often closely resemble it, which is bad for the native varieties, as they get lumped in with and sometimes persecuted along with "Dandelions, the weed".

  8. Dandelions tend to flower most abundantly in spring, but can re-flower in the fall, too. Flowers open in the morning and tend to close up at night. After a couple of days in flower they close and the seeds develop inside the closed head.

  9. The family of plants that the Dandelion belongs to also includes lettuce.

  10. The root of Dandelion is said to be diuretic (it makes you pee).

  11. The war on dandelions is a war we cannot win. These plants are here to stay. 

  12. The benefits of dandelion are many yet somehow, somewhere along the way, this humble plant that has fed and healed humanity for thousands of years became a blight on our landscape.

  13. The presence of dandelions attracts and supports several key species in the local ecosystem, including butterflies, moths, and birds, which in turn pollinate fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other flowers that feed even more species. Hummingbirds use dandelion down to line their tiny nests, and beneficial insects and lizards seek shelter under the low-growing leaves (which often rest on the ground in a dense rosette).

  14. Dandelions protect the soil. Their roots hold the soil together to help prevent wind and water erosion. And since the plants grow so quickly, they spread to cover bare soil and act as a natural mulch by providing shade and conserving moisture. 

  15. Though we typically think of dandelions as flowers, the plant is a perennial herb and is one of the oldest herbs used for food and healing — since before Roman times! Every part of a dandelion is edible, from root to flower.

  16. For thousands of years, various parts of the dandelion plant have been used to naturally detoxify the body and support healthy liver function and kidney function.

  17. A cup of dandelion greens would give you about 112 per cent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin A and 535 per cent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin K, and other things like calcium, iron and magnesium.

  18. The tallest dandelion measured 177.8 cm (70 in) and was found by Jo Riding and Joey Fusco (both Canada) in Ontario, Canada. The dandelion was measured on 12 September 2011. The dandelion was found on 4 August 2011 and was unofficially measured at 76 in.

  19. A 2003 study at the University of Regensburg in Germany found that 99.5 per cent of dandelion seeds land within 10 metres of their parent. That’s because the seed ‘parachute’ falls at about 30cm per second and dandelions only grow about 30cm high. 

  20. Dandelions are thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia.