The First Dandelion
Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.
From “Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman
did you know that a dandelion is not a single flower, rather a flower head composed of a bunch of “ray florets” (tiny flowers)?
and because i’m too lazy to paraphrase, here are some other fascinating facts about dandelions, copy-and-paste from wikipedia:
Taraxacum species reproduce asexually by means of apomixis, and seed production commonly occurs without pollination.
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 "clock".
In modern French the plant is called pissenlit, which means "urinate in bed", apparently referring to its diuretic properties.
There are usually 54 to 172 seeds produced per head, but a single plant can produce more than 2000 seeds a year. It has been estimated that more than 97 000 000 seeds/hectare could be produced every year by a dense stand of dandelions.
Often dandelions can be observed growing in a crevice near a wall, because the blowing fruits hit the wall and the feathery pappi drop off, sending the dandelion seeds to the base of the obstacle where they germinate. After the seed is released, the parachutes lose their feathered structure and take on a fuzzy, cotton-like appearance, often called "dandelion snow."
The plant can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. They are probably closest in character to mustard greens. The leaves are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, carrying more iron and calcium than spinach.
Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine. Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute.
Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold as a diuretic. Dandelions are so potent in this effect that children have been known to wet the bed the night after skin contact from playing with them. A leaf decoction can be drunk to "purify the blood", for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and also for nervousness. The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent; the milk is also applied to warts, helping get rid of them without damaging the surrounding skin. A dye can also be obtained from the roots of the plant.
i am going to count the parachutes on a clock sometime. and use dandelion milk to repel mosquitoes. i would also love to make a dandelion salad, but i don’t particularly want to piss en mon lit.