Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dandelions: 2 years BAD, then 4 years GOOD

Dandelion Photo by bob_jenkins

The first 2 years I lived on this property, I had the typical suburbanite attitude that dandelions in the lawn are BAD. I must have dug up a zillion over the first 2 years here.

Then I started to learn a bit about Permaculture, where dandelions are revered because they have several important functions. First, they are dynamic accumulators, meaning their deep taproot brings nutrients up from deep in the soil, especially calcium, making it available for more shallow-rooted plants like tomatoes.

Secondly, the dandelion leaves that emerge early in spring are quite tasty as a salad, full of Vitamins A, C and B's (esp. B6), and a variety of minerals. Later in summer the greens can be bitter, but if you eliminate the central stem, the leafy parts are still pretty mild. The flowers are also edible but the base of the petals tends to be bitter. The flowers make a wonderful and colorful garnish or added to a salad!

Thirdly, the roots can be washed, dried, and ground for a nutritious beverage. It really is NOT a coffee substitute, but still healthy and nutritious.

Fourth: Bees LOVE dandelions, so they feed the bees... and we all know our honeybees are at risk.

Have you appreciated your dandelions today? Have you actually tried a dandelion salad??


  1. Not only do the bees love them they are an important flower for those in between times when the bees do not have other blooms to work since the dandelions bloom continuously from early Spring to late Fall around here anyway. I actually promote the Dandelion and Dutch Clover around my place for my bees.

  2. Second post this morning mentioning dandelions. My DH came in yesterday with the first one, half opened (Western Mass). I've never had the energy to dig my dandelions, so they are plentiful. Good to know all the things they offer.


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