Houseplants

Dandelions - more than just a weed

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Dandelions are a thorn in the side of many garden owners. The plant is by no means just a weed. If used correctly, it can relieve symptoms.

© alenalihacheva / stock.adobe.com Whether dandelion, blowball or buttercup, the Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia is widespread in this country. Dandelions can be found not only on the edge of the path, but also on many meadows and in countless gardens. What is a disturbing weed for some is an important medicinal plant for others. Some hobby gardeners really hate this plant because it grows almost everywhere and spreads so rapidly. A perfect lawn is then no longer an option. Many children, however, love dandelions and numerous gourmets even treat themselves to this pleasure regularly. Precisely because the spirits differ on this plant, it is worthwhile to get to know the dandelion in the further course.

Plant description: What distinguishes the dandelion?

Since a distinction must be made between the genus dandelion and the dandelion, the buttercup is correctly called the common dandelion. The plant from the daisy family is a herbaceous plant that grows to a height of between ten and a maximum of 30 centimeters. The white milk juice of the buttercup can be found in all plant components.

Roots and leaves

The tap roots of the dandelion are characterized by a dark brown to black color and a length of up to one meter. In exceptional cases, the fleshy roots of this plant can even be two meters long.

A short, compressed stem axis also characterizes the plant. The leaves line up closely along the lower part of this axis and form a kind of rosette. In addition, the leaves are between ten and 30 centimeters long and have irregularly strong lobes as well as the incisions and serrations. The serrations and incisions in the direction of the blade tip decrease more and more.

Blossoms

The flowers protrude up to 60 centimeters, the peduncle of the dandelion in the form of a hollow tube, which is covered with a weak felt from the outside. A plant often has several of these tubes.

Many small, yellow tongue blossoms make up the open flowers of the dandelion. The diameter of these flowers is around three to five centimeters. The blowball lasts for several days. During this time, the inflorescence closes not only when it rains and at night, but also when the ambient conditions are dry. When the yellow flowers finally fade away, this also closes the inflorescence. It takes several days before the leaves around the faded flowers open again.

Fruit

© ruslan_khismatov / stock.adobe.com Then the fruits of the dandelion are ripe. First of all, however, the petals of the tongue flowers fall off. They release the fruits, which are characterized by a slim barrel shape and hairy gliders. The wind now ensures that these fruits are scattered in all directions. This process can be accelerated by blowing the dandelion, which also explains this name.

Heyday

In Central European regions, the main flowering period of the plant is concentrated on the months of April and May. Dandelions can still be seen until autumn, albeit in significantly smaller numbers. These plants adapt strongly to the prevailing environmental conditions at their location. The height and orientation of the leaves and inflorescence stems are, for example, decisively influenced by these external factors. While the name "buttercup" is due to the golden yellow color, this plant is also known under the following terms:

  • Real dandelion
  • Common or common cowflower
  • bed Eicher
  • Pfaffenröhrlein
  • Sonnenwirbel
  • Mönchskopf

Spread of the dandelion

This plant was originally found in Europe and West Asia. Thanks to people's efforts, the plant is now widespread in many countries in the northern hemisphere. However, that dandelions also thrive in the southern hemisphere is only rarely the case and then definitely due to a deportation there. In Central Europe, it is even one of the most common wild herb varieties that can be found in gardens, along roadsides and in meadows.

Cracks in the wall, debris piles and various fallow areas are a feast for this plant, which thrives best at an average temperature of five to 26 degrees Celsius. The pH of the soil should be between 4.2 and 8.3, while an average rainfall of 0.3 to 2.7 meters per year is ideal for the plant. The dandelion can also be found in the mountains. At altitudes of up to 2,800 meters, however, the crop itself reaches lower heights.

Possible uses for dandelions

When it comes to the development of whole bee colonies in spring, this plant plays an important role. In the meantime, even dandelion honey is available, which is characterized by a viscous consistency, a golden yellow color and a strong aroma. Many children love to blow out the dandelion fruits in all directions. The inflorescence stem can also be used to make an excellent mini-format flute, provided the end is spliced. Whether as food and beverages or in medicine, there are many uses for dandelions, which is confirmed by a look at this list:

  • Spreads of jellies and syrups made from the yellow flowers
  • Young dandelion leaves with a slightly bitter taste as a salad ingredient
  • Boil the roots or make them into a salad
  • Replacement coffee based on the roasted or dried roots of this plant
  • As animal feed
  • Historic use as a rubber substitute

When it comes to the medicinal benefits of the plant, dandelions are both diuretic and laxative. The plant is also said to have a hematopoietic, blood cleansing and menstruation-promoting effect. As a result, buttercups can be used for the following conditions and diseases:

  • fever
  • a headache
  • Menopausal complaints
  • gout
  • Cough and bronchitis
  • anorexia
  • Spring fever
  • blockages
  • pimple
  • dropsy
  • rheumatism
  • Weak bile or liver
  • hemorrhoids
  • Chronic joint diseases
  • gout
  • Eczema, corns and warts and other skin conditions
  • stomach weakness
  • allergies
  • arteriosclerosis
  • Kidney or gallstones

Tips for eating dandelions

© happy_lark / stock.adobe.com Although the plant is non-toxic, it is not advisable to consume large quantities. This is especially true for older plants. Your milk juice contains higher concentrations of bitter substances, triterpenes and resins. If these ingredients are now consumed in large quantities, this can result in gastrointestinal complaints. Especially dandelions, which can be found on the roadside, should be cleaned thoroughly before consumption, as they can be contaminated by dog ​​urine, for example. This list lists the special ingredients in the dandelion that are important when consumed:

  • choline
  • potassium
  • inulin
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • Vitamins A, B2 and C.
  • bitters

When collecting the plant, the risk of confusion with other plants is low. The juice dandelion and the common piglet herb look similar. However, the stem of these plants is not hollow, making it easy to distinguish between them during the harvest. In view of the fact that the individual plant components become increasingly bitter over time, it makes sense to harvest as young as possible dandelions, which can be recognized by their delicate green leaves.

What does dandelion taste like?

Not only rabbits taste the leaves of the plant. Dandelion leaves are also healthy for humans. These edible leaves are characterized by a tart and spicy taste. The older the leaves are, the more bitter their taste is. Purely dandelion petals are certainly not for everyone. Whether as juice, sauces, in soups or into risotto, the further processing of the leaves is highly recommended and preferable to pure consumption. Although most dandelion recipes rely on the leaves, these plant components are also edible:

  • root
  • stalk
  • Flower buds and flowers

Basically, almost all plant components of the dandelion have a spicy to slightly bitter taste that is reminiscent of chicory. A syrup or jelly that can be made from the sweet, yellow flowers is particularly tasty. Because this sweet spread promises honey-like flavors.

How hobby gardeners best get rid of dandelions

The fact that dandelions multiply rapidly is a great strength of this plant, which makes life difficult for many amateur gardeners. To prevent the dandelion from spreading in your own garden, it is important to prevent the white fruits or seeds from spreading. As long as the plant blooms in yellow, it serves the ecosystem in the garden, as it serves as a food source for various insects and bees.

Those who are waiting for the flowers to do so are doing the environment a favor. When the yellow flowers close, however, it's time to get rid of the dandelions. Because now it doesn't take long for the seed to form. Therefore, the plant must be removed before it opens again and the fruits of the wind can then distribute it freely. It is by no means sufficient to simply tear the plant off the ground. Rather, the tap root must be removed completely so that the buttercup is guaranteed not to follow.

Conventional weed cutter is powerless

If you want to reliably get against the buttercup, you have to make sure that you have removed all remains of the plant from the soil. Otherwise the chances are very good that it is only a matter of time before the common dandelion sprouts again and multiplies like wild. Special weed cutters against dandelions are available from specialist retailers. These spiral tools are preferable to a regular weed cutter for any weed. In this way, the entire plant with the entire root can be pulled out of the ground without you having to bend over. This tool is also suitable for removing various types of amp.

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1 Kent & Stowe dandelion puller, 1 piece No reviews at the moment23,98 €To the shop

Which weed killers help against dandelions?

Salt-water brine and vinegar are effective against dandelions. Nevertheless, hobby gardeners should not use these simple and inexpensive tools. Because they damage not only the soil and neighboring plants, but also the groundwater. If you want to tackle dandelions with chemicals, it's best not to fight young plants. The larger the surface of the plant, the better the weed killer can work.

All hobby gardeners should know that chemical weed killers always clog the soil and should therefore be avoided if possible. Resistance can also develop over the years. If this is already the case in the home garden due to the use of weed killers by the previous tenant or previous owner, the dandelion may not start on the weed agents. Incidentally, the weed agents for dandelions are generally lawn weed killers, so-called herbicides, which also attack other types of weeds. Depending on the choice of agent, the following active ingredients are used:

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