A friend said to Hodja Nasruddin, “Look at all these dandelions!  I’ve tried pulling them, poisoning them, starving them, digging them out by the root.  Nothing works.  I am at my wit’s end!”

“That’s a shame,” said the Hodja. “They are not a problem for me.”

“Really?  Please tell me your secret, my friend!”

“It is very simple,” said Nasruddin.  “I have learned to love them.”

Dandelions are native to Eurasia, but have traveled all over this world.   In France they were called “Dent de Lion,” or “Lion’s Tooth,” because of their toothed leaves. In England they were, “Piss-a-Beds,” for their diuretic properties.  In Germany, Russia, and Italy they are “blowing flowers.”  In Catalan, Poland, Denmark, and Lithuania they are  “milk flowers,”  “milkpots,” and “sow’s milk,” after the flower stem’s milky sap.  In Finland, Estonia, and Croatia, they are “butter flowers.”  In China, they are “flower that grows in public spaces by the riverside,”  while in Portugal, they are called, “your dad is bald,” after a game the children play with them.

A weed is only a weed if it is unwanted.  These immigrants have been used by humans for food, winemaking, herbs, and medicine for all of our recorded history.  Their roots are roasted for a chicory-like hot drink.  They are brimming with vitamins, and they enrich the soil.

They were only introduced to North America by the first European settlers.  Foreign? Yes. But think of all the good things they have brought with them.  Think of summertime without their cheerful faces.  Most of all, think of all the wishes that have come true since they have found a home here.

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

12 thoughts on “Dandelions and Other Foreigners

  1. Wonderful post! I wish that more people saw them as the wonderful flowers they truly are, for all the reasons you have listed. I don’t use anything but neem oil and natural, organic things on my lawn or in my flower beds. No chemicals – I love the bees and butterflies too much! However, because of this, I have a plethora of dandelions. I do take them out of my flowerbeds, but I leave them on the lawn.

    My mother made dandelion wine once. She had my brother and me outside picking all the dandelions we could find for days, and when our own yard was bare, she asked the neighbors, who were thrilled to have all the dandelions picked from their yards, too. -_- I will never forget that. She let us try the wine when it was done. As a kid, of course, I didn’t think it was all that special…certainly not special enough to warrant days of hands and knees picking…lol. 🙂 Thanks for speaking up for them, though!

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  2. I remember running through a gently sloping field of dandelions at the Morton Arboretum as a young girl, just thrilled with the moment, like Maria von Trapp singing “The hills are alive….!” A very happy memory.

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  3. I shouldn’t love dandelions. But I do – they are such a cheerful lot, sunny, sweet upturned faces. We had to pick them out of more than one acre for 5 cents a bushel. This was followed up by kicking clods (spreading manure). Haha, what an expression. But I do love them. I knew of some of their uses, but surely not all. What wonderful information Naomi. Thank you. The shadow and light play of that last photo is simply marvelous.

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  4. To me the most important thing about dandelions is that they are a favourite food for bees. If you could buy seed packets of dandelions, I’d plant them ! I’m always thrilled to find them growing in my garden

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    1. Hi Valerie,
      I didn’t even think of dandelions as bee food! I do dig them out of my lawn before they can seed. As for the bees, my raspberry bushes come alive and hum loudly with the happy buzz of bees.
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for sharing your enthusiasm. I learned something new today!

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