Plant of the Week # 2 - Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
As promised here is the first installment of the Plant of the Week
The reason I have numbered this #2 is to avoid confusion as to which show it was discussed on which was Thursday, March 31, 2011.
- Disclaimer: -
While I have gathered the best available information what I present is for entertainment purposes only and I cannot be held liable for any illness
or injuries sustained by attempted use of this information or any mistakes made in it's content.
Always remember to: Positively Identify any plants you intend to use, know which parts to use and any special procedures necessary to ensure
edibility, Only collect healthy plants without discoloration from areas which are not subject to pollution. Be Conservative: don't deplete an area
and leave rare plants in place.
Dandelions, from the French Dent de Lion
"tooth of the lion" have long been a favorite edible
green both of early settlers and survivalists. This hardy weed has established itself throughout the lower 48 states and Canada much to the
consternation of those who wish to keep green, lush lawns.
Dandelions are difficult to eradicate due to their fast growth cycle and profuse seeds which spread like tiny parachutes on the wind. Plucking will
not kill them either as they quickly grow long taproots which invariably break off remaining to come back again. Unfortunately, this hardiness often
results in homeowners resorting to the application of herbicides which must be reapplied periodically,contaminating the ground and killing many
beneficial insects and plants, dandelion being one of the most beneficial.
Common yard weeds actually help enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen while the deep taproot helps aerate the soil and brings nutrients to the
surface.Beneficial insects, especially honeybees love dandelion pollen and nectar, greatly benefiting from it's blooming nearly throughout the year in
temperate zones. In Virginia it's rare to go 2 months in the winter without seeing dandelions in bloom. Finally, weeds help to control erosion and
prevent delicate topsoil from being carried away by rain and snow melt.
Eaten by many in early spring as a "tonic" plant, dandelion helps to flush the kidneys and gall bladder
by diuretic action, increasing urine flow. Dandelion can be very powerful and may cause frequent urination.
Dandelion as Food:
It is the highest known plant source of Vitamin A, with additional Calcium, Thiamine and Riboflavin.
Young leaves - can be eaten raw, added to salads or boiled as a potherb. The whitish-colored section of the leafstalk where it meets the root is the
best portion with the leaves growing more bitter with age. It makes a nice complement to other, blander greens.
Flowers - can be dipped in batter, fried in oil and eaten as fritters, excellent! Flowers are also used
to make wine by fermentation with sugar and yeast.
Taproot - can be dug, washed and scrubbed of any dirt, dried in full sun or low oven then ground into a substitute or additive to coffee.
Nutritional data: 100 gram sample of raw leaves yields: 45 calories, 2.7 grams protein, 9.2 grams carbohydrates, 187mg.calcium, 66 mg.phosphorous, 3.1
mg iron, 14,000 I.U. vitamin A , 35 mg.vitamin C.
Source: Composition of Foods, Agriculture Handbook No.8, USDA, 1963.
That's all for Dandelion, our first Survival Radio Show Plant of the Week.
Thanks for reading!
- Tune In Next Week for: OAKS, PLANT OF THE WEEK #3 -
edit on 4/6/2011 by 12m8keall2c because: fixed embedded images
edit on 6-4-2011 by Asktheanimals because: corrections