The dandelion can currently be seen springing up all over the place. Well known as a weed, it is actually an extremely valuable wildflower. The flowerhead is formed from many tiny flowers, which makes them very important to pollinating insects, as they provide a plentiful food source – although the dandelion itself does not rely on pollination in order to set seed. When the seed heads form, they become the distinctive dandelion clock, played with by many a child.
All of the dandelion is edible – the flowers can be used to make a syrup or “honey”, the leaves are edible when young, and the roots can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee replacement.
It is also a traditional medicinal plant. It is an effective diuretic – in fact, it is known in French as “pissenlit”, which translates as wet the bed! The common name in English comes from “dent de lion”, as the serrated leaves look like the teeth of a lion!