Dandelion flowers

Dandelions:

Dandelions are well known to most yards in our area.  This time of year they spring up like, well weeds.

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(photo by Mike, used with permission)

Many homeowners try their best to get rid of dandelions in their yards.  Meanwhile, children like my 8-year-old love to find the dandelions ready to release their seeds.  Why?  For the kids it is fun pure and simple.  Who doesn’t enjoy blowing on a dandelion and watching the seeds gently float off across the yard?

Did you know Dandelions are not native to Maryland?  They were brought from Europe way back with some of the earliest European settlers of the area.  But why would someone import weeds all the way from Europe?

Early European settlers believed that the Dandelion was an effective medicine. They used it to treat a variety of illnesses and aliments.  The Dandelion was used to treat upset tummies, sore muscles, infections, to control gas and as an laxative.  According to reports I have read, there is insufficient information to determine if Dandelions are effective in treating these conditions. A person should always consult their doctor before trying any self-treatment.

The early European settlers also used dandelions as a food source. In foods, dandelion is used in salads (young leaves) and in soups.  They can also be used to make beverages such as wine and teas.  The roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute.  Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C and D as well as minerals including zinc, potassium and iron. Today some people use Dandelion leaves to add flavor to salads and sandwiches.

Would you like to know more?  Stop by and visit Fountain Rock Park and Nature Center and ask one of our friendly staff or volunteers about Dandelions.  They will be glad to answer any questions you might have on Dandelions or any other nature related subject.

The Nature Center is open on weekends:  Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1pm to 4pm. The park grounds are open 7 days a week starting at 8:00am.

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