Two Teens And Their Mama: Who Decided Dandelions Are Weeds

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Who Decided Dandelions Are Weeds


When my son T was in preschool, he loved dandelions.  Kind of obsessively.  They were his favorite "flower", and he got angry if anyone called them a weed.  I can't count the number of bouquets I received from him, and he often asked me to pull over when we saw a yard full of dandelions so he could pick some.

He definitely caught a lot of flak over his love of dandelions, especially from my husband who was constantly trying to rid our yard of them.  But T didn't care, and no matter what his dad told him, he would not agree that they were anything less than a beautiful flower. I remember him asking me who decided that dandelions were weeds, and I didn't have a good answer (bad mommy moment, but this would have required a trip to the library - there wasn't google back then).



I'd forgotten about T's dandelion obsession, but was reminded this weekend as we were working in our vegetable garden.  My hubby was grumbling and pulling, and it got me wondering, who DID decide that dandelions weren't flowers?  They're actually kind of pretty, and maybe it's rude to call them a weed.  Off to google I went, and what I found out was kind of interesting.

Only in the twentieth century did we human beings decide that the dandelion is a weed. They most likely arrived in North America on the Mayflower, and were brought on purpose for their medicinal benefits, not as stowaways!

In the old, old days, dandelions were prescribed for every ailment, from dandruff to the plague. Herbalists still hail the dandelion as the perfect plant medicine.  They are also more nutritious than most of the vegetables in your refrigerator, full of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Dandelion greens make a delicious salad according to Martha Stewart, and if anyone would know, she would.

To add insult to injury (at least according to my husband), dandelions are GOOD for your lawn. Their roots aerate the earth and reduce erosion.  They actually fertilize the grass, and did I mention, they're kind of pretty?

Looks like the cute preschooler was right after all.  I haven't told him yet, because now that he's sixteen, he already thinks he knows everything.  Plus, I never did find out just WHO decided dandelions are weeds.



12 comments:

  1. Interesting. Maybe the inventors of weed killers started that rumor to sell more product?! :)

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    1. I never thought of that - a definite possibility!

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  2. I totally agree with T! (Although I do shudder when they get their puffy heads, because I know all the seeds will propagate and cause me work!) Such cute photos - I love the tightly clenched bouquets!
    Congrats on your Turn It Up Tuesday recognition - it was very well deserved for such a great post!!

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    1. Thanks Susan! I was so surprised when I saw Turn It Up Tuesday. T's very most favorite thing to do was "blow" the puffy dandelions - you can imagine how his dad felt about that!

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  3. I think all kids love dandelions. I knew the greens were edible, but I didn't know the flowers were considered medicinal - interesting! When I was young, we made a long chain of them down our street and tried to get the newspaper to come and take a photo -- they didn't.

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    1. Love that story! I didn't know about the medicinal properties either.

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  4. I got my share of dandelion bouquets when the boys were little too. Truth is, the flower is in the eye of the beholder. And every one of those dandelions, when handed over by a smiling child, were the most beautiful of flowers.

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  5. Very cute story. I have always loved dandelions. I knew you can use them in a salad but I've never tried it.

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    1. I haven't either but I'm going to give Martha Stewart's a try.

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  6. I never realized that dandelions fertilize the grass...interesting! I agree they are pretty too and that's so sweet about your son. I have fond memories of picking the dandelions before (or is it after?) they bloomed and blowing the fuzzy seeds all over the yard, which of course makes more dandelions!

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    1. My son's favorite thing to do was to blow them and make wishes! Don't think my husband appreciated that either.

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