Blog posts originally featured in Cornwall's what's-on magazine: Blackbird Pie. Click on logo to go to their website.
Little Yellow Lawn Buddies
I am secretly and covertly writing this post while hiding away in a cupboard so as not to be caught by my fiancée, who, should she discover my celebration of a common garden weed, would surely have me relegated to the garden shed and forced into hard labour to pluck the poor little blighters from our lawn. Indeed, here I celebrate the cheery life of the Dandelion as a weed of many talents.
The English name of the Dandelion is adapted from the French, Dent de lion, meaning, Lion’s Tooth, due to the course teeth-like leaves. Like its fellow lawn mate, the daisy, stems from the Dandelion can be used as natural jewellery, as the narrow tip easily inserts into the wider base making a perfect bracelet. Alternatively, many Dandelions woven together make a rather lush-looking crown of yellow, while the creative brave among you, might even attempt a seeded Dandelion crown - just don’t sneeze!
When you’re not crafting jewellery from stems or mashing up yellow heads for a witch’s potion, you can instead eat the weed in a salad, or turn it into other culinary delights such as lemonade, wine, root beer, tea or coffee, although much of the latter is more from the roots and leaves than the head.
Now you might think that all those drinks are going to send you running to the toilet. Well, yes they might, but more likely it’s the plant itself, as it acts as a natural diuretic, which might even explain the old wives tale that picking Dandelions will have you wetting the bed. Thanks for that one, mum and dad!
Dandelions have also played a significant role in folklore. It was believed that weaving them into a bride’s wedding bouquet would bring the happy couple good luck, while for children, picking the tallest stem in spring meant growing that much taller during the coming year. And if you were looking for love, blowing on a white head of seeds was all you needed to do to secure a romance; of course, any seeds left behind meant you were out of luck!
Children today are equally intrigued by the playfulness of these little yellow weeds, like making wishes before blowing the seeds away, or worrying about one’s fate when the number of seeds left denotes the number of years you have left to live!
Next time you get the weed popper out, think of all the yummy playful things you can do with that little yellow lawn buddy.