Sunday, June 22, 2008
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them
- A. A. Milne, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh
I love Dandelions!
Love looking at them…love it when they take over a yard (okay usually someone else's) ……love to see fields of dandelions in bloom.
I am the kind of dandelion lover that takes joy in blowing the seeds off the dandelion clocks and making sure they spread far and wide (and I don't have a problem with them landing in folks yards by the hundreds).
Basically this makes me a big kid.
Have you noticed that almost all children love to pick dandelions and present the wilted bouquets to a truly thrilled parent.
They love to blow dandelion clocks (why are they called clocks?).
Children can not and will not see dandelions as unwanted…as weeds.
All they see is bright, shiny yellow suns surrounded by a field of green.
I LOVE Dandelions!!
Alright, now that I have gotten that out of my system….lets talk about all of the wonderful stories, poems, quotes, children's books and even songs dedicated to or at least mentioning the Dandelion. And then, there are all the wonderful uses that folks have found for the dandelion. Not to mention...but I will anyway...the folklore surrounding the dandelion.
So much information, so little time.
Hmmm...before I get started let me say that all of this information, the stories, the quotes, the odd facts, etc. make a heck of a lesson plan or storytelling presentation. There are just so many ways you can use the information.
Alrighty then! Here are various bits of info in no paticular order. Have fun!!
DANDELION'S COMMON/FOLKORE NAMES
Lion’s Tooth, Blowball, Swine’s Snout, Wild Endive, White Endive, Cankerwort,Piss-a-bed, Priest’s Crown, Blowball, Puffball, Fairy Clock, Yellow Gowan, Irish Daisy, Peasant’s Cloak
According to one legend, in ancient days the earth was populated by fairies, elves and gnomes. When the first humans arrived, they could not see the elves, fairies and gnomes which was a big problem because they kept stepping on them. The gnomes and elves began hiding behind rocks and underground. The fairies were too fond of the sunlight to stay underground long. Due to their love of the sun, they tended to dress in bright yellow gowns, which made it difficult for them to hide in the fields. In desperation, they turned themselves into Dandelions. You'll notice that if you step on a dandelion they spring back. This is because they hold the spirit of the fairies.
Did you know?....When you blow on a Dandelion Clock, it is said that the seeds are really fairy transportation. In return for helping a fairy on it's way, you are given a wish.
Here's a fabulous recipe for Dandelion Lemonade
And this link has a recipe for Dandelion Lemonade and Dandelion Fritters . Nummy!!
The recipe for this dandelion salad can be found at Beansprouts
Oh, hardy flower, disdained as weed,
Despised for head of feathery seed,
Your unsung virtues rate a ballad,
Choice roots for wine, crisp leaves for salad.
- Betty Gay, Dandelion
Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and, full of pride, uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth's ample round
May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.
- James Russell Lowell, To the Dandelion
Some children's books about Dandelions:
Dandelions by Eve Bunting and Greg Shed (Grades 4-8)
Dandelion by Don Freeman (K to 2)
The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony (K to 2)
Dandelion Adventures by L. Patricia Kite
"It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun”
Henry Ward Beecher
"You cannot forget if you would those golden kisses all over the cheeks of the meadow, queerly called dandelions.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Mmmmm..Good!(from the Delicious Dandelion)
All parts of the dandelion are used as food and medicine. Young leaves are a great addition to salads and sandwiches. They also can be steamed and sautéed like spinach.source Delicious Dandelion
Dandelion leaves contain 7,000 units of vitamin A per ounce. (By comparison, a carrot has only 175 units per ounce.) One-half cup of raw dandelion leaves contains 398 milligrams potassium, 68 milligrams ascorbic acid, 35 milligrams vitamin C, 900 micrograms niacin, 200 micrograms thiamin, 3 milligrams iron and 2.7 grams protein — quite a power-packed plant!
Dandelion flowers also are edible, adding flavor and color to butter and other spreads. I coat them in a sweet tempura batter, sauté them in sunflower oil and serve them as appetizers.
The roots are gathered in the spring for their medicinal value and in the fall for their food reserve. Traditionally, the roots are dried, roasted, ground and drunk as a coffee substitute. I mix the roasted root with the roasted roots of burdock and chicory for a robust tea that contains no caffeine — only nutrition and flavor.
European herbalists consider the dandelion one of the best herbs for building up the blood when a person has anemia. This plant has been cultivated and used in India as a remedy for liver complaints.
Hmmmm....after all of this information, I have to conclude that the Dandelion is a much more loved than I had first thought.
So, turn off your computers and go outside and pick a few dandelions...or maybe just lie in the grass and appreciate the beauty and the usefulness of the dandelion.
I'll leave with a song.....Dandelion by the Rolling Stones.