First we had the Celandine then hot on their heels came the Dandelion – hardly had the yellow carpets of early spring started to fade away when it suddenly reappeared with renewed vigour as the Dandelions got into their stride.
You can’t help but find them likeable – I know they’re weeds and will take over the garden if you give them a chance – but they put so much effort into being bright and cheerful – we’d all miss them if they weren’t around.
Mrs Grieve writing in the 1890/1900s, when herbs were still an important feature of medicine, recommended growing dandelion as a crop for medicinal use, and quoted yields of 1500lbs of dry roots per acre – she did also recommend the removal of all the flower heads before seeding.
The name is supposed to have come from ‘Dent de Lion’ or lions teeth. Mrs Grieve says that some people have suggested that this was because the brown root is stark white when cut, looking like a mouth full of teeth.
I’ve always preferred to think of it as a reference to the shape of the leaves, either looking like a lions teeth or looking as though a lion had just taken a big bite out of them.
Are vegetarian lions that difficult to imagine – Disney didn’t think so