The Dandelion is both Herb and Weed

I just returned from Milwaukee.

The golf course across from my hotel there showed the most beautiful green hilly contours of a well-kept lawn, but no dandelions.

Whenever I drove around the city neighborhoods, however, I saw dandelions on many home lawns. Even at the local horticultural gem Boerner Botantical Gardens I saw green fields with spotted dandelions.

Dandelions were once considered valuable plants but today are weeds.

Dandelions in the green fields of Borner Botanical

Dandelions shine in these green fields at Boerner Botanical Gardens.

While in Milwaukee I read an article in the Journal SentinelĀ  by Jill Riggenback called “Weed among garden’s nutrition sources.” Riggenbach writes”Gardeners who are worried about the current plight of bees and other pollinators have another reason for valuing dandelion flowers: They’re a rich source of early-season nectar and pollen.”

The Enclopedia of Organic Gardening says “While the dandelion is frequently rated a nuisance, it is actually quite valuable because of the medicinal and vitamin value of its roots.”

The website Oils and Plants agrees. It says: “Many people think of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a weed, but herbalists consider it a valuable herb with many culinary and medicinal uses. The dandelion is a rich source of vitamin A, B complex, vitamin C, and vitamin D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Its leaves are often used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots can be found in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make certain wines.”

The little yellow dandelion that traveled from England to America has now naturalized in all temperate climates.

Peterson’s Field Guide to Wildflowers still calls it a weed.

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