Updated: Nov 7, 2020
(Dandelion Flower to Seed Cycle)
Flower of the Sun
Piss in Bed
Plus, many more names
Dandelion may have so many names because the roots, leaves, and flowerheads are all edible and medicinal. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it grows globally. The European colonizers thought so highly of it they brought it with them across the seas and spread it across the United States and anywhere else they went, making Dandelion prolific worldwide. (Hourdajian)
(Dandelion grows wild in NYC)
In the United States, Dandelion has been villainized as a weed because she grows where she wants. The website Science and Plants for Schools says that some weeds can cause harm such as: poison animals, and crops, are a host to pests and diseases, block drainage and irrigation channels. However, Dandelion is loved by animals from bees to bears, creates drainage channels in compacted soils, restores mineral health to abused soils, aerates and attracts earth worms to soils making them beneficial to any garden. (Weed). Also, dandelions are pretty in flower and seed. As a child I called dandelion seeds Wishes and would blow my wishes whenever I found one. Blowing dandelion seeds is one of the ways the plant is so prolific, as the seed head flies away it can travel hundreds of miles depending of wind strength. The seeds do not need to be planted and can germinate on their own under most conditions. (Hourdajian)
Another reason why this plant has a bad name is because she interferes with the dream of the sprawling green lawn with no agricultural value, which is perceived as a status symbol and popularized by Patriarchs of the United States; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in the 1770’s. Take a look at David Botti’s video; The Great American Lawn: How the Dream was Manufactured, to learn more about the American Dream of owning a house with a great green lawn.
While the plant is a villain to some, it is a savior and revered by many. The North American Indians have folklore around Dandelion, summarized like this:
“A long time ago, there lived a Medicine Man named Kosi Agu, Flower of the Sun. Kosi had two friends that were always at his side and ready to help him carry out his duties as a medicine man. They were the Eagle and the Mountain Lion. The Eagle brought messages and medicines from the sky and high mountain tops while the Mountain Lion gave Kosi strength of body and protection whenever it was needed. Together the three worked tirelessly in helping the community, Kosi by caring for the community’s sick, the Eagle by flying and collecting herbs high up the mountain, and the Mountain Lion would help by digging up roots from the earth when they were needed. When the time came for the three friends to return into the earth they asked to be buried in a meadow where in their place a plant would grow. The Flower would be like Kosi Agu’s name and heart. The leaves would be like the teeth of the Mountain Lion, and the roots would be like the legs of the Eagle. The plant helped the sick and fed their bodies, today you can always count on Dandelion to help you stay healthy"
(summarized from text by Walking Night Bear & Padilla)
Today Dandelion is considered a medicinal plant by herbalists that assists the gut, liver, and kidneys in functioning at full potential.
Craft a Dandelion
· Flower Essence
I made a dandelion leaf infused vinegar with leaves purchased at the farmers market. I loosely filled a jar with the leaves and filled the jar to the top with Apple Cider Vinegar and covered with parchment paper to prevent the metal lid from rusting. I infused the leaves for 6 weeks before decanting. I use the vinegar on salads or sip it to be bold and audacious as the Dandelion Fool from the Herbcrafter's Tarot suggests.
Botti, David. 08/09/2019. The Great American Lawn: How the Dream was Manufactured. NYTimes.com. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/video/lawn-grass-environment-history.html?auth=login-email&login=email
Hourdajian, Dara. 11/13/2006. Introduced Species Summary Project Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale). Columbia.edu. Retrieved from: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Taraxum_officinale.htm
Walking Night Bear and Padilla, Stan. 1983. Song of the Seven Herbs. Book Publishing Company
Weed, Susan. 1989. Wise Woman Herbal, Healing Wise. Ash Tree Publishing
Weeds Versus Plants. SAPS.org.uk. Retrieved from: https://www.saps.org.uk/saps-associates/browse-q-and-a/482-what-is-the-difference-between-a-weed-and-a-plant