The Lowly Dandelion

Dandelion - Dent de lion

Dandelion - Dent de lion

A strange thing happened a few days ago. I was riding my lawn mower in my precise and efficient cutting pattern and started looking at the wildflowers that were growing right in front of my blades. A few seconds later they were history, all but a memory. It occurred to me that before I mow all the plants down I should stop and photograph what was there. I found about 4 species to add to my wildflower photograph list so this was definitely meant to be.

I did get distracted by the dandelions that are taking over my yard however as they are large, bright and well, very plentiful! I found that the closer I got to these pretty flowers and seed heads the more interesting dandelions look. In front of my 150mm macro lens they looked even better. This isn’t the first time I’ve photographed dandelions but was the longest I’ve ever spent at “dandelion level”.

Dandelion Flower

Dandelion Flower

Back on my lawn mower I was wondering why we hate dandelions so much. Is it that they mess up out perfectly green lawns? Are they an unwanted weed?

I have a friend that makes wine out of the flowers, something quite popular in Europe. In France they add the leaves to salads and are actually responsible for giving the dandelion its name; dent de lion, teeth of the lion after the jagged edge of the leaves. The Latin name Taraxacum officinalis translates into disorder remedy. For centuries in Europe the dandelion was considered a remedy for disorders of the body. In traditional Chinese medicine the root and leaf of the dandelion are used to remove toxins from the body.

Do you get rid of your dandelions? Have you ever tried using them for their nutritional value or for health purposes? I have a new respect for them now although I’m not going to detour around them quite yet!

Dandelion Seeds

Dandelion - Dente de lion

Dandelion - Dent de lion

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22 Responses to “The Lowly Dandelion”

  1. mountain.mama says:

    I have always thought the dandelion was much maligned. I love these pictures.

  2. Dagrun says:

    I love the dandelions, the do make great macrophotos just like those you present here!!

  3. june says:

    I confess I’ve always tried to get rid of them…a losing battle to be sure. Perhaps this year I’ll take a position of peaceful co-existence and declare a truce :-) Great macro shot, by the way.

  4. Kerri says:

    Oooh, these are great!!

  5. Gallicissa says:

    I am blown away! What neat captures. And thanks for explaining the etymology of Dandelion and hinting how it should be pronounced. Cheers!

  6. Lynn says:

    We had such a rough winter here, that I have been finding dandelions quite beautiful this year. I only have one dandelion in my garden and decided to keep it there. I may regret it next year. I really like the last photo, a very different perspective on the common weed.

  7. margie says:

    kevin, these shots are terrific.

  8. East Gwillimbury WOW! says:

    Lovely shots of dandelions. I’m weird – I actually LIKE dandelions so appreciate your photos, 😉

  9. Diane C. says:

    I love how photography helps us to see something lowly or ordinary in a new way. I think the dandelion seeds resemble fine lace in the third photo. Nice post with interesting info about dandelions.

  10. Lisa's Chaos says:

    These shots just take my breath away! I am taking dandelion pills and my husband suggested I just go graze the yard. :)

  11. Lisa's Chaos says:

    PS – We think alike, I laid in the wet grass last week to snap some dandelions but I had forgotten I had even done it until I saw yours. Life has been too busy for me to even look at them yet. :(

  12. Deborah Godin says:

    I’ve never seen such a breathtaking view of dandelion globes! And I feel as you do, if we all would just agree that they are lovely, and that no one needs a “perfect lawn” that looks almost artificial, then we could all just enjoy the habitat as it is. And not contaminate our groundwater either.

  13. Amy says:

    I love love love your series here. Nice job! I love how you found them too!

  14. cherie thiessen says:

    Thanks for elevating the dandelion to the level it should be at, Kevin. Your photos really do them credit. I have never figured out why so many people want to detroy these gifts from nature. They’re colourful, hardy, indigenous, and nutritious. They belong as much as we do and they give more back. So – come on over and have a sip of my dandelion wine while we munch on those nutritious greens in our salad.

  15. Martha says:

    Beautiful Dandelion (one of my favorites), and beautiful photography!

  16. kevin says:

    Thanks all, it sounds like the “good ole” dandelion is here to stay. No more Round-Up and other chemical compounds!

    Cherie, after writing this piece I was thinking I really should sample some more of your wine! We have 4 acres of dandelions here on the big island, time to come up for a feast!

  17. LisaNewton says:

    Oh, I miss dandelions. I used to see them all the time on the East Coast, but here on the West Coast, I don’t see them too often.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories of trying to get rid of dandelions……………:)

  18. LisaNewton says:

    BTW, I forgot to tell you, GREAT photos……………….:)

  19. amanda says:

    Your macros are lovely your selective focus is gorgeous.

    http://aguthrieimages.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/macro-monday-5/

  20. CarrieJ says:

    I adore the last shot! It is impeccable!!
    I got on a dandelion kick this year. Now people are starting to associate me with them, to the point I named my photography businesss I am trying to start Dandelion Farms Photography.

  21. kevin says:

    I didn’t realize dandelions were as popular as this, maybe it’s just bloggers that are into them. And thanks for the comments about the photos, dandelions sure look good up close and personal. Carrie, that’s an excellent name for a photography business, catchy and something that people will remember!

  22. Margaret Davaz says:

    The point of view on that last shot is wonderful!

    Lovin’ Macro Monday,
    Cameo @–>–>—

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