I spent yesterday engaged in the Dandelion Eviction Campaign (Get Out of This Planting Bed). Things were down and dirty when I managed to capture one of the leaders of the Elite Front Yard Dandelion Squad. Being an excellent interrogator (I threatened him with RoundUp), I learned a great deal about the Dandelion Lifestyle. I am sharing this with you just in case you are ever reincarnated as a dandelion. I’m just that kind of mom.
What’s your name?
Can I have a drink of water?
Dandelion 2,365,778,986. Cubed. Now can I have a drink?
Maybe of RoundUp.
I think that’s against the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Sure. But I have a muddy mouth.
Skip the transcript.
Summary of Conversation with a Dandelion
Being a successful dandelion is all about location, location, location.
- When you’re a seed, be sure to pick a good location.
- Choose a spot that is near other, older weeds. The longer they’ve been around the longer you’re likely to be around. Also if someone is trying to dig out weeds they’ll be tired by the time they get to you.
- Pick a yard where people get rid of weeds by digging rather than by spraying. Spray goes deep. People are not deep. Digging often leaves part of a tap root.
- When possible, locate in clay. It’s more work for you to get your roots in initially, but it’s almost impossible for anyone to dig you out.
Get your tap root set.
- Send your tap root down as far as you can. When you get to the other side of the world, poke through and tie a knot.
- Set your tap root under big roots and under large rocks. Like boulders. Give an evil laugh when people try to dig you out and split their spleen. Mwah-ha-ha-ha.
- Most humans have a finite amount of weed-digging in them. If you’re near other weeds, chances are they’ll be tired by the time they get to you.
Grow a family.
- Send out seeds in all directions. If you’re smart you’ll let different seeds go at different times. (Don’t fret about the babies—they have little parachutes to ensure a soft landing.)
- Suggest that a few seeds stay close to home. It’s always nice to have family nearby, and they’ll be around to take care of you if someone picks your leaves. (Some people think dandelion leaves are a great delicacy.) But realize that many sees will be carries 5 or more miles away. And dandelions do not generally have cell phones.
- Pop your seeds up just before the lawn mower comes around. The mower will send them flying which will give your seeds a great start in life.
- Since dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant, rinse and repeat.
The word dandelion comes from the Old French “Dent-de-lion” which means lion’s tooth. I am flower hear me roar? I think not.
Getting to the root of the problem (ha), dandelions originated in Asia where they are used as both food and medicine. Dandelions are still often used for salads, tea, and as an ingredient in root beer. (I kid you not.)
Dandelions probably arrived in North America on the Mayflower – not as stowaways, but brought on purpose for their medicinal benefits. Something else we can thank the Pilgrims for.
Up until the 1800s, people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile. The people of the 1800s would love our lawn.
The dandelion spent a lot of time repeating propaganda about the weeds (like insisting they aren’t weeds).
Dandelions, he insisted, are good for the lawn. Their roots loosen soil, aerate the earth, and reduce erosion. I pointed out that pretty much all plants do that. He went on to insist that their deep taproot pulls nutrients from deep in the soil making them available to other plants. Being a professional interrogator, I managed not to laugh out loud.
Dandelions, my captive told me, are fast growers, going from bud to seed in days. They are also can live for years. Their root sinks deeper each year and can go down 15 feet or more. Even a one-inch bit of dandelion root can grow a whole new dandelion. He was bragging, that captive of mine. I tried to explain that from my point of view none of these were good qualities to have.
Seeing I would get no further information from him, I threw the dandelion in the garbage. Being the kind of survivor weed that he is, I have great faith he will sprout and grow in the landfill.
The story goes that if you catch a flying dandelion seed, you can make a wish. The story does not say anything about your wish coming true.
Hope all your wishes come true today, with or without a dandelion seed.