Dandelion Facts

Dandelion Facts
Dandelion is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Asteraceae. There are around 30 species of dandelion that can be found all over the world. Dandelion inhabits different habitats that provide enough sunlight: meadows, grasslands, edges of the forests, gardens and lawns. In most parts of the world, dandelion is known as weed. Belgium is one of the rare countries that cultivates and exploits dandelion in large quantities. Despite its bad reputation, dandelion has numerous properties that are beneficial for humans. It can be used as food, as an ingredient of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, in the production of tires, or as medicine.
Interesting Dandelion Facts:
Dandelion is herbaceous plant that can reach 17 inches in height. Stem is hollow.
Dandelion has 2 to 10 inches long green leaves that form a rosette at the base of the stem. Leaves are toothed at the edges.
Dandelion has yellow-orange flower that consists of large number of individual, miniature flowers known as ray florets. Flower opens at dawn and closes at night.
Different types of insects pollinate dandelion. Yellow flower turns into puff ball that consists of large number of fruits called achenes. Seed of dandelion has disk-like extension that acts like a parachute and facilitates dispersal by wind.
Seed can travel 5 miles before it finally reaches the ground.
Dandelion resembles sun, moon and stars during the certain parts of its life cycle. Yellow flower looks like sun, spherical head with seeds looks like moon while dispersing seeds look like stars.
Name dandelion originates from French words "dent de lion" which mean lion's tooth. This name is given because of deeply toothed leaves of dandelion.
Dandelion is rich source of vitamins A, C and K. It also contains high level of iron, calcium and potassium. Dandelion is used mainly in Asian cuisine, often as an ingredient of salads and sandwiches.
Dandelion can be used in the production of wine and root beer. Root of dandelion can be used as a substitute for coffee.
Dandelion is used in folk medicine to treat infections and liver disorders. Tea made of dandelion act as diuretic (facilitates excretion of urine).
Animals such as birds, insects and butterflies consume nectar or seed of dandelion.
Milky liquid produced in the stem contains latex (substance that is similar to rubber). Scientists created new species of dandelion which produces high quality latex in greater amount. This type of latex has potential to replace rubber in the production of tires in the near future.
Some people may develop allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) after touching or consuming dandelion.
Dandelion is useful in gardens because it improves quality of the soil by increasing the content of nitrogen and other minerals.
Some species of dandelion live two years (biennial), while others can survive much more (perennial plants).

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