The dandelion is a flower of sustenance. If only we would allow it, it can feed us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Over the last few months of the pandemic the dandelions grew and flowered. These were months of lock down, daily walks and time to think. Now, in June the seed heads are forming and, just like those downy, parachute seeds, we are beginning to venture farther afield. Rather than a perennial weed despised by gardeners, I invite you to consider the dandelion as a valuable plant for our wellbeing.
Dandelion flowers in Spring Sunshine
The bright yellow dandelion flower is a welcome sight in early spring. You may stumble across it on a bright, cold day, walking on wasteland or past field edges. The sun for me has a special potency in those days of the year. It reminds me that the days are lengthening and hope lies ahead. ‘As above. So below’ always springs to mind. It is no wonder that the dandelion reflects the sunshine in the sky. It responds to light. In fact, the dandelion was called the ‘shepherds’ timepiece’ because it opened in the morning and closed again at dusk.
Strong Roots Connecting to the Ground
The strong taproot of the dandelion is infamous amongst gardeners. It is long, strong and difficult to kill. In the same way as the root nourishes the plant, it is vital that we feel that connection and vitality from the ground. It reminds us that we are living creatures, that nature heals us, and the rhythms of the seasons affect us all. The chance to take a walk, connect with those seasons and the earth is a valuable one and perhaps something that has been overlooked when we were living busy, noisy, fast paced lives.
Dandelion Leaves for Health
On a practical level dandelion leaves keep us healthy. Herbalists tell us that people, past and present, use dandelion leaves to make salads and tea. The leaves are known to have many nutrients, such as magnesium, zinc and calcium and can be as good for you as broccoli and spinach. The name ‘dandelion’ comes from the French ‘dents de lion’ which means teeth of the lion. If you look carefully you can see the shape of those ragged teeth all along each side of the leaves. But beware, the other name for dandelion is ‘them wet the beds’ which comes from the diuretic properties of the dandelion. It is meant to cleanse people’s urinary tract and digestive system but of course, you can have too much of a good thing!
Magical Dandelion Seed Heads
The appearance of the seed head is absolutely beautiful. The fluffy heads on the multiple slender stalks create a kind of ethereal globe. The seed head is magical. It transports us to a dimension where wishes come true and thoughts and love fly further than we can see. I have done this since I was a child and I have never grown out of it! In June I usually find a dandelion and blow it to wish everyone taking exams good luck. This year I have been blowing the dandelion seeds thinking of all those who are separated from their loved ones during lockdown.
Don’t forget to make your wishes this summer. Trust the dandelion to sustain you, and those you care about, in mind, body and spirit.
Ruth Goudy – The Flower Writer