A Salute to Dandelions

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.
— A.A. Milne (via Eeyore)

Springtime in Virginia is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the miracle of Spring, even with all the pollen and abundance of rainy days.

My tiny patch of garden has started to grow and there among the herbs and flowers sprouts the ever present dandelion, unbidden, along with wild violets. I wonder... when did we decide those precious, wild flowers were weeds? They are every bit as colorful and often more useful than many cultivated flowers. We think they ruin the beauty, the uniformity, of a manicured lawn. But do they really?

Much of my life I have felt like a dandelion, wanting to be useful, to bring joy and light, wanting to bloom where God has planted me... only to end up feeling like an annoying, misunderstood, unwanted weed.

Have you ever felt like that? If so, read on...

Here are some interesting facts about the dandelion gathered from around the internet:

  • The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.

  • The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.

  • Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.

  • Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful "weeds." (I love this idea!)

  • Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.

  • Dandelions can self-pollinate, which means they only need their own plant to reproduce. When their little white seeds hit the air, the wind can carry them miles away from the original plant, due to the parachute design of dandelion seeds. Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!

  • In Chinese medicine, the dandelion plant has been used for over a thousand years in treating various conditions like diabetes, cancers, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.

  • The leaves are more nutritious than anything you can buy. They're higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is phenomenal, greater than spinach. You also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by using a tasty, free vegetable that grows on virtually every lawn.

So, you see, it's not so bad to be a dandelion. In fact, it's absolutely wonderful. Bloom on!