They are here! The lions teeth! Dent de lion! I’ll soon be sneering at them, pulling them, but right now the dandelions are a welcome, joyful guest. Well, okay, permanent residents.
To help bee populations thrive, it’s best to keep as many dandelions in the garden as possible. I remove them from my beds, but leave them in what little grass I have and wherever there are wild patches or cracks.
Dandelion is the Flower of Brigid, bearnan Bride, “Little notched of Bride.” Its uses range far beyond its reputation as weed. The roots are good for tea and young leaves are wonderful in salads (as long as you’re not using pesticides, and best not to pick them near a road or street). They are among the richest sources of Vitamin A (dandelion is also called wild endive). When weeding is harvesting, the job seems less tedious.
Dandelion spring tonic is said to purify the blood, cure heart disease, cleanse the liver, ease rheumatism, and chase Old Woman Winter out of the bones. The dent de lion ─ lion’s tooth, the white incisor-like taproot ─ has been used for centuries by herbalists to treat diabetes, cure anemia, and as a diuretic, which explains why the plant is also called pissenlit, or piss-a-bed. A folk wine is made from dandelion stems and blossoms. I’m sorry to say that mine turned out to be a rather unpleasant syrup.
Blowing on dandelion seed heads ─ sometimes called “the old men” ─ fulfills wishes, tells the time, calls spirits, or answers questions about the future.