Dandelions - you either love them or you hate them

Hungry Duck Eating Dandelion Seeds

Hungry Duck Eating Dandelion Seeds - Credit: Steve Jones

Steve Jones writes for the Herald on behalf of the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group.

Steve jones head and shoulders picture

Steve Jones writes for Sid Valley Biodiversity Group - Credit: Contributed

In a pub a group of loud scary men discussed celebrities, cars and beer.

They expressed their likes and dislikes by holding up their fists. On the backs of their fingers was tattooed on one hand LOVE and on the other HATE. But one had hate on both hands.

I have a friend who feels that way about dandelions. He is more obsessed about killing dandelions in his garden than growing anything else. When out in the country he tries to stamp on every dandelion in reach.

But dandelions are one of the natural wonders of Britain.

On Gardeners Question Time, James Wong told of his family visiting from Malaysia, who were perplexed by their gutter weeds being grown as house plants here, but were amazed by the beauty of the dandelion flower.

Though a dandelion can be found in flower at any time of the year its moment of glory is in spring when grassy banks turn bright yellow with the flowers, followed with the white of the seed heads.

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I recently watched a duck walk through a field eating every seed head it came across. Insects, especially bees, love the flowers for their nectar. 80% of spring honey comes from dandelion and willow. Dandelion honey is sold locally.

The name dandelion comes from the French ‘dente de lion’ as the leaves are meant to look like lion’s teeth.

In Victorian times it was fashionable to serve dandelion sandwiches at afternoon tea. It was grown in greenhouses as a winter salad and in France it is still grown.

The roots are lightly fermented for the drink Dandelion and Burdock. The roots can also be dried and used as a coffee substitute, however

they are high in potassium and excess is removed by our bodies through urination, hence the name of ‘Wet the Bed’.

So, if you hate dandelions when they grow in your drive or lawn, love them in parks and countryside. Do not loose the joy to be found in their beauty by a policy of hate and hate.