More Dandelions

Yep, in case you hadn't guessed, Dandelions are the new Clematis. In other words, this seasons obsession.

Dandelions are perennials; they last for more than one year. Over the years their roots grow deeper, send out side roots from the central tap, and sometimes even appear to have more than one top to a single tap. The roots are filled with the same type of white sap as the blossom stems, and have an orange colored sheath. The greens IIRC are edible, and I have heard tell that some make wine from the Dandelion. They are foreign to the Americas, lore says brought over by an herbalist which implies that at some time they were used medicinally. They reproduce via seeds, which are suspended from a fluff-parachute and distributed by floating on the breeze, landing where the wind dies down; they seem to have a relatively low germination rate given the number of seeds per plant in relation to the number of Dandelions in a given area, taking into account that they live for years. The seeds are light enough that a strong wind could carry them a fair distance, so no area is safe from them, although I suspect they don't do so well in arid terrain, preferring seasonally moist soil to expedite deep tap roots to tide them through the summer months. Their greens are saw-toothed, and spread out radially , hugging the ground, from directly above the tap root. The blossoms grow on long hollow stems, closing up at night and opening fully in response to strong direct sunlight; they don't open fully on overcast days. They prefer a sunny environment, not a shade plant, making them the bane of lawn and garden far more than forestland; at least this is my impression. The blossom is composed of multitudinous narrow yellow petals, with a tough green wrapper enclosing them at night and on overcast days; they are actually quite pretty in full bloom, but this could also be said of Clematis, and like Clematis the problem is that they refuse to be confined to any given area, and where possible smother other plants with their greens; where unable to smother with their greens they do poorly, as they require plenty of sunlight on their leaves and do not have stalks. The true reason they are loathed is because their best environment is domesticated lawns. Any affecianado of golf, croquet, or lawn bowling has an abiding hate for dandelions. They are evergreens, and over the years build a thick mat of leaves.

I have no citations for the above, purely my personal recollections and off-the-cuff extrapolations, so I may be wrong in some details.

Oh, we may be approaching veggie planting time, the bumblebees are coming out of hibernation, as have the ants. Have to start actively laying out ground for garden, not as much fun as pulling weeds, but hey, food is good.

No comments: