Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weeds or vegetables?

"Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Europe, North America and Asia and two species, T. officinale and T. eruthrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide".
(copied from Wikipedia)

Somewhere I snapped up the term plant racism; and wouldn't this be an excellent example of it? Poor dandelions, they probably are just trying to regain their territory... And it definitely is not their fault that they are so well-adapted to the "disturbed habitats" of the modern world, such as lawns and other sunny, open places.
K
K
On Saturday, I had a walk at the Discovery Park in North Seattle, and found this wonderfully blooming field of dandelions and daisies. I thought it was so much prettier than a short-cropped lawn, but of course, many gardeners might argue with that. Then I learned that dandelion leaves are more nutritious than almost anything in the grocery store; higher in beta-carotene than carrots and the iron and calcium content is greater than in spinach. They also contain vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc...
K
So there we have this free, amazingly healthy vegetable growing on virtually every lawn, ready to be harvested. I remember how I once cooked dandelion buds and tried to eat them with butter, but I was totally disappointed, as the bitter taste was not at all asparagus-like as promised. Maybe it is time to search for some new recipes and get into action?

8 comments:

Camellia said...

Ahh, en intresant svängom om maskrosor (bara det svenska namnet säger ju något om vad vi känner för blomman). Du lyckas ge den rejäl upprättelse. Sedan är det en sak att de tar över allt, rabatter också, om man inte ser upp.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Jag tycker att de egentligen är ganska vackra, men oj vad tråkiga att rensa mellan kalstensplattorna i min trädgård i Sverige. Men just nu har jag ingen egen trädgård, så det är lätt att vara generös även mot maskrosor :-)

Tina said...

Oooh it does look gorgeous. It is how curious one plant is considered a weed and others a thing of beauty. In New Zealand the hillsides are covered with gorse - ulex europaeus, a spiny, yellow flowering plant which the english imported to use as a type of hedgerow. The New Zealand conditions meant that it spread like wildfire. I had always considered it ugly until a french friend of mine commented how beautiful the hills looked .... as far as I know you can't eat it - that might have solved the problem!

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Tina, lovely to hear from you! I just found some gorse during my morning walk and thought about you. It was imported here too and now grows on the roadsides, very yellow and very spiny. Poor Australia and New Zealand, things grow so well there that everything imported has a risk of becoming a nuisance. In that sense, Scandinavia has fewer possibilities (for growing things) but also much less risk, the cold climate weeds out most foreign invaders...

Titania said...

I agree with you I prefer the dandelions and the daisies. They look wonderful like this. Make daisy chains and blow the dandelions seed into the wind!!
My orchard is full of dandelions in spring. Not exactly the European one, a little different, but a sea of yellow, beautiful. The Galahs, do you remember them, love to come and eat the flowers. forgetting everything around them, well they are GALAHS! I do remember in Switzerland seeing people in the fields and gathering young dandelion leaves for salads.
Thanks for putting in a good word for the Dandelion.

Karen said...

I don't have a problem with them in general, but they do tend to take over if left alone so I dig out a few and let a few stay. But then again, I don't have a lawn! I like to keep a few around for my daughter, she loves to pick flowers and these ones are great for that! Ditto daisies. I figure all parts of the dandelion are probably bitter, including the root (which my grandfather used to roast and grind to use as a coffee substitute in meager times). Never tried young leaves, might have to get up the nerve sometime. Neat post!

James A-S said...

They may well be chock full of vitamins and goodness but, no matter how you prepare them, they always taste absolutely revolting which, I think, excludes them from being vegetables.
They are one of those plants (like Sycamores) that look great in other people's gardens!

Hannu på Kinnekulle said...

I love it! Spring yellow...