Continuing with the sun theme (see the most recent Photo Challenge subject, “Sun,” in the post below), I’ve posted a photo of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). I’ve used a paintography effect on the photo.
I grew up with negative concepts about the dandelion: weed, pest, the bane of everyone’s green lawn. I must have integrated those perceptions without knowing it, because I realized one day that although I photograph many wildflowers, I never photographed dandelions. They are actually stunning flowers, nut I never thought of them as flowers – only as weeds. That was the day I first photographed thedandelion.
Now, I rejoice in their round, golden heads popping up through unmown spring lawns, and bringing color to rutty old ditches. Soon their their lovely, puffy seed heads will sprout. My bet is that the architects who designed the Epcott Center in Disneyland used the dandelion seed head as their inspiration.
Because they begin blooming early in spring, dandelions are an important nectar sources for bees and early-emerging butteflies. Apparently, dandelions were transported from Europe or Asia to the new world for that very purpose: as an early spring source of nector for honey bees. So, people’s initial reactions to dandelions was once positive.
They also have many medicinal uses. According to the University of Maryland Medical School, “traditionally, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.” Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm#ixzz1t0Rqyvgw
And finally, dandelions are a food source. Their leaves are used as salad greens, and the flower heads can be used to make herbal wines. Their roots can be roasted to make teas.
What are your reactions to the dandilion? Do you see a weed? A pest? A brilliant yellow wildflower? A food source? An herb? I’m curious to know if my former poor perception of the dandilion was mine alone, or have we collectively misaligned this lovely wildflower? Do you take photopraphs of dandelions, or do you ignore them as I did? If you have dandelion photos, post a photo on your blog and then post the link to it on your comment here. Let’s celebrate the Dandelion!
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