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Dandelions - The Beautiful Weed of Canada

Written by; Joy Smithers / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Mon Jul 13 2009

  


Dandelions

Dandelions seem to crop up almost everywhere in Canada.

The dandelion is originally native to China, but has now spread throughout the northern hemisphere.


As history tells it, dandelions have been spreading throughout North America since 1620. In this year, European settlers accidentally brought the flowers over on the Mayflower ship. Other people think that the British purposefully brought the dandelion to North America for use as a medicinal and culinary ingredient.

Dandelions are known for their ability to grow almost anywhere. This is thanks to the way their seeds travel. The dandelion's lightweight seeds are able to parachute into the wind and travel considerable distances. Plus, their small size allows them to thrive in small cracks in sidewalks and other tight spaces. Dandelions are also hearty plants with deep roots that protect them from frost. Thus, dandelions are perennials.

Dandelions have rosette shaped leaves that can reach up to 25 centimeters in length. They also have bright yellow flowers that stand atop a hollow stem. Although most dandelions are low to the ground, their stems can reach up to 60 centimeters in height.

Many people consider Dandelions a weed and strive to remove it from their garden. However, efforts to remove this plant from gardens have become more difficult in Canada thanks to new pesticide laws. In fact, using certain pesticides to rid yourself of dandelions can result in a fine of up to $5,000 in the City of Toronto.

There are other ways to destroy dandelions, though. For example, tilling the soil can irreparably damage dandelion roots. Unfortunately, this method can also tear up grass and create an eyesore.

On the other hand, dandelions are also known for their medicinal properties. In fact, the dandelion gets scientific name 'officinale' from the word 'medicinal'. In the past, Europeans were known to use this flower to prevent scurvy on long sea journeys. The Romans also used the dandelion for this after they were introduced to the plant during an invasion of Celtic lands.

Even today in Canada, the dandelion's root is registered as a drug. It is used to treat conditions such as anemia, kidney disease, jaundice, arthritis, respiratory infections, and gallstones. However, the most common medicinal use of the dandelion is as a diuretic.

As you can see, the dandelion may annoy gardeners with its constant presence and ability to thrive, but the plant is ultimately a benefit to society. It can be used as a medicine and even consumed as food. So, the next time you try to destroy a dandelion, maybe you will think twice.

  

Copyright: 2009 TCCN.ca










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