digging dandelions

When the whole head has matured, all the florets close up again within the green sheathing bracts that lie beneath, and the bloom returns very much to the appearance it had in the bud. Its shape being then somewhat reminiscent of the snout of a pig, it is termed in some districts 'Swine's Snout.'

The withered, yellow petals are, however soon pushed off in a bunch, as the seeds, crowned with their tufts of hair, mature, and one day, under the influence of sun and wind the 'Swine's Snout' becomes a large gossamer ball, from its silky whiteness a very noticeable feature. It is made up of myriads of plumed seeds or pappus, ready to be blown off when quite ripe by the slightest breeze, and forms the 'clock' of the children, who by blowing at it till all the seeds are released, love to tell themselves the time of day by the number of puffs necessary to disperse every seed.

When all the seeds have flown, the receptacle or disc on which they were placed remains bare, white, speckled and surrounded by merely the drooping remnants of the sheathing bracts, and we can see why the plant received another of its popular names, 'Priest's Crown,' common in the Middle Ages, when a priest's shorn head was a familiar object.

botanical.com: Dandelion - Herb Profile and Information

The role that mighty taproot plays is to bring up minerals and other nutrients from various soil layers, making them available first to the dandelion itself, and then to whatever fortunate creature eats it. That's why the Chinese call it the "earth nail."

It supplies hefty amounts of beta-carotene, potassium, sodium, phosphorous and iron and also contains, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B vitamins.

Dandelions, in Such Good Taste (washingtonpost.com)

Luckily there are people in Durango who celebrate these misunderstood weeds. The Dand-elion Duet, consisting of Katrina Blair and Brian Carter, led a dandelion flute-playing workshop this weekend. Carter showed the crowd of 20 how to find the stoutest stems possible and, with the small scissors on a Swiss army knife, cut little diamond shaped holes along the stem, after cutting off the flower head.

"If it’s flimsy you can only get a couple of holes; if it’s real strong you can get a whole octave."

The Durango Telegraph: Digging dandelions

randomWalks @randomWalks