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Dandelions: Weed or wonder

Through the ages the dandelion has had a number of uses in folk
medicines. The leaves were used for its nutritional value, for water retention, regulation of the blood glucose, upset stomach, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones and liver and gallbladder complaints. It was even eaten as a salad. The FDA has not evaluated the dandelion for any of these medical benefits.
We mostly know the dandelion as a weed that can take over our lawns if we don’t fight its spread yearly. The plants first produce a round yellow flower in our yards. The yellow flower turns into a white “puff ball.” These clusters of seed cases on the can have as many as 200 seeds cases on each flower. At the top of each seed is a white, feathery tuft that looks like a little parachute. This “parachute” catches the breeze and carries the seed to new locations.
Children love to pick the puff balls, blow the seeds into the wind and watch them sail away. Take a very close look at the seed cases. They are actually pretty and very artistic with a yellow seed attached to bottom of the tuft parachute. Nature has a way of providing beauty in the most simple ways.

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