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About Dandelion Edit
Wikipedia Article About Dandelion on Wikipedia
Dandelion (Taraxacum) is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are tap-rooted biennial or perennial herbaceous plants, native to temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere of the Old World. The genus is taxonomically very complex, with numerous apomictic microspecies, and polyploidy is also common; over 250 species have been recorded in the British Isles alone (Richards 1972). Some botanists take a much broader viewpoint, and only accept a total of about 60 species.
The leaves are 5-25 cm long, simple and basal, entire or lobed, forming a rosette above the central taproot. As the leaves grow outward they push down the surrounding vegetation, such as grass in a lawn, killing the vegetation by cutting off the sunlight. A bright yellow flower head (which is open in the daytime but closes at night) is borne singly on a hollow stem (scape) which rises 4-30 cm above the leaves and exudes a milky sap (latex) when broken. A rosette may produce several flowering stems at a time. The flower head is 2-5 cm in diameter and consists entirely of ray florets. An interesting fact about dandelion flowers is that they are useless vestigial structures. They reproduce without fertilization, a process called apomixis. The flower matures into a globe of fine filaments that are usually distributed by wind, carrying away the seed-containing achenes. This globe (receptacle) is called the "dandelion clock", and blowing it apart is a popular pastime for children. The number of blows required to completely rid the clock of its seeds is deemed to be the time of day. The flower head is surrounded by bracts (sometimes mistakenly called sepals) in two series. The inner bracts are erect until the seeds mature, then flex down to allow the seeds to disperse; the outer bracts are always reflexed downward. Some species drop the "parachute" (called a pappus, modified sepals) from the achenes. Between the pappus and the achene, there is a stalk called beak, which elongates as the fruit matures. The beak breaks off from the achene quite easily.
The name dandelion is a derivation of the Old French, dent-de-lion, literally "lion's tooth" on account of the sharply lobed leaves of the plant. In modern French the plant is called pissenlit, "urinate in bed", referring to its diuretic properties. Likewise, "pissabeds" is an English folkname for this plant and "piscialletto" in Italian.
Dandelion greens Edit
The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning lion's tooth, a reference to the jagged-edged leaves of this noteworthy weed that grows both wild and cultivated. The bright green leaves have a slightly bitter, tangy flavor that adds interest to salads. They can also be cooked like spinach. The roots can be eaten as vegetables or roasted and ground to make root coffee. Though they're available until winter in some states, the best, most tender dandelion greens are found in early spring, before the plant begins to flower. Look for bright-green, tender-crisp leaves; avoid those with yellowed or wilted tips. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 5 days. Wash thoroughly before using. Dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, iron and calcium.
Dandelion root Edit
While the root flesh is white colored, the outer skin of the root is dark brown or black. In Swedish, it is called maskros ("worm rose", named after the small insects (thrips) usually present in the flowers). In Finnish and Estonian, it is called voikukka and võilill, respectively, meaning "butter flower", referring to its buttery colour. In Dutch it is called paardebloem, meaning "horse-flower". In Chinese it is called "蒲公英" (pronounced pu gong ying), meaning flower that grows in public spaces by the riverside. In Japanese, it is tanpopo (タンポポ?), the root also have very strong antiviral properties