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National Dandelion Day

The time of year has arrived when dandelions are sprouting up all over lawns, and with it has come National Dandelion Day. Blooming from early spring into autumn, dandelions take their name from the French phrase dent de lion, meaning "lion's tooth," which refers to the jagged, teeth-like shape of the plant's leaves. The plant's scientific name is taraxacum officinale.

The dandelion is a perennial herbaceous plant that can grow almost anywhere—not just on lawns, but between cracks, and even in gravel and cement. Considered by many to be a weed, all parts of the plant are edible and have medicinal properties. It contains vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and has iron, potassium, calcium, and other minerals. Historically, it was used by Native Americans to treat skin problems, swelling, and kidney disease. It aids in digestion, filters the liver, removes toxins, purifies blood, can be used as a diuretic and laxative, and can treat rheumatism. Young leaves, less bitter than older ones, can be sautéed or included in a fresh salad. The yellow parts of the flowers, the blossoms, can also be used in salads and can be fermented into wine. The blossoms, leaves, and roots can be brewed into tea.

Dandelion blossoms open with the sun and close with the arrival of the night sky. Blossoms are also closed on cloudy days, when the temperature drops, and for the 10 or 20 days while they transform and go to seed. When they open from their transformation they have become a puffball made of seed cases called achenes, each connected to a white feathery strand that drifts away in the wind, ensuring there will be dandelions and a National Dandelion Day for years to come!

How to Observe National Dandelion Day

There are many ways to celebrate with dandelions!

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