Dandelion is found worldwide and unfortunately mostly seen as a weed. Every part of the plant is edible and it contains notable amounts of vitamins (more vitamin A than raw carrots!) and minerals including calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Dandelion is s very old plant, it has many medicinal uses and makes a good companion plant. Related species is T. erythrospermum.
Dandelion can grow almost anywhere, including pavement cracks, but it thrives in rich moist soil. It is interesting to see how the plant looks completely different depending on the type of soil and environment it is growing in. Dandelion can grow in full sun or partial shade and in hot summers and cold winters.
How to Plant
Scatter the seeds on the surface, cover lightly with soil and keep moist. Dandelion has a habit of coming up where you did not intend it to, it self sows very easily and once you have it in the garden it is likely you will see them coming up everywhere.
How to Water
Water Dandelion regularly, once a week and up to 4 times a week if it has not been raining.
Dandelion makes a good companion plant because it is said that the taproom brings up nutrients for the shallower rooting plants, and it adds minerals and nitrogen into the soil. Dandelion also attracts beneficial insects to the garden.
How to Propagate
Dandelion is a perennial plant and self sows easily so propagation is usually just through seeds, which you can also gather and save for the following season.
How to Harvest
You can harvest Dandelion greens and florets throughout the season, all parts can be eaten and roots can be harvested in the autumn of the second year of growth.
All parts of the plant is used, roots, young leaves and the florets.
Dandelion leaves are used in salads, sandwiches and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes and the flowers can be used to make wines. You can also make a root decoction (seen recipes for both hot and cold decoctions), leaf decoction, root and/or leaf tincture.
Dandelion is used for disorders of liver and gall bladder, diabetics, skin rashes, eczema, gallstones, metabolic disorders, blood purification, gout and rheumatism, disorders of the spleen, face and eyes and acne.
Sesquiterpene lactones, triterpene steroids, phenolic acids, polysaccharides, carotenoids, protein, sugars, pectin, choline, vitamins, minerals, bitter principle (taraxacin, taraxacerin), inulin.
Leaf: diuretic, choleretic, anti-inflammatory. Root: choleretic, cholagogue, tonic, antirheumatic, bitter, alterative, depurative (3).
In 2012 some researchers in Canada received a grant for studying the cancer fighting properties of Dandelion root tea and it is said to be very effective.