A dandelion, by any other name…

Dandelion.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why dandelion?

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I have. It comes from the french, Dent De Lion, that apparently refers to its leaves’ shape – all rugged and tooth-like. But that’s not its only name, not by far.

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The Taraxacum (its latin name) has been known and used by civilisations all around the world for years and years and years. Its name in persian, tarashaquq, can be found in a pharmaceutical manuscript from 900 AD and every single part of the plant (flowers, roots, leaves, seeds) can be used for either food, dye or medicine.

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Here is a list of alternative English names:

blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown, puff-ball, faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine’s snoutwhite endive, wild endive.

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In Italian, it’s known as dente di leone (tooth of a lion), but also, like in English, as piscialetto (pee-a-bed). The similarities in the common names may surprise at first, but are actually because of its strong diuretic properties.

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The dandelion, I discovered, is also important in alternative medicine and downright magic spells because it is the only flower that represents the sun (when it is a flower), moon (when it’s in seed) and the stars (when they’re blown away).

Not such a weed after all, huh?

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2 Comments on “A dandelion, by any other name…

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