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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... Dandelions.


CURWOOD: Some of the brightest signs of spring are those orangey-yellow bursts of color against the green backdrop we've already begun to see in the northeast. Dandelions are back. And while folks in Vineland, New Jersey, celebrate the flower with an annual festival, many lawn tenders call the plant a nuisance. Dandelions are hard to weed. They reproduce underground as well as through those white seed puffs kids love to send flying. Its botanical name is Taraxacum, from the Greek word for disorder remedy, and originally dandelions were found in Europe and Asia. This edible plant has long been used to treat digestive, liver, and gallbladder problems. It's high in potassium and vitamin A, and it's said to be useful for treating night blindness. Some people get their dose through herbal tea. Others prefer dandelion wine. Or if you're in a fancy restaurant, just order the “salad dent-de-leon”. The plant's name comes from the French, meaning "teeth of the lion," a reference to the jagged shape of its leaves. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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