Growing the Dandelion Herb Plant
The dandelion herb plant is a perennial that will grow for a couple of seasons without needing replanting. It propogates from seed and if you are not careful this plant will overtake your herb garden (and your other garden beds, not to mention your lawn!)
Although many people consider this plant a weed these days, it has a long history as a medicinal and culinary herb and based on fossil finds in Eurasia, it is believed to be one of the oldest plants on earth.
The scientific name for Dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, and is a member of the daisy family.
The dandelion has long pointed and grooved leaves and each of the hollow stems of the plant are topped by a single bright yellow flower. The leaves are between 3" tp 12" in length and grow in a basal rosette.
The roots are dark brown and filled with a milky substance that is bitter.
This plant is one of the hardiest plants on the planet. Dandelion will grow almost anywhere (except extreme conditions) and although it thrives in full sun, the plant will also grow in partial shade.
Dandelion seeds can be planted in early spring in well-drained, fertile soil approximately 1/4 inch deep in single rows, about 8 inches apart.
Uses of Dandelion
The leaves, flowers and roots of the dandelion herb plant are all edible, and offer considerable health benefits.
The leaves and the flowers can be used in salads and the dried roots can be used to make a tea.
I have often used dandelion tea as a substitute for coffee when attempting to lose weight, which not only reduced my caffine, sugar and lactose intake but the durietic effect of the tea aided in flushing unwanted ketones from my body.
The leaves of the dandelion herb plant can be picked throughout the growing season and the flowers should be picked when they are still in bud form and quite young for a sweet honey-like taste, and when the flowers are mature if you desire a more bitter taste.
The roots can be harvested at the end of the second growing season. They should be removed from the soil whole and unbroken and then dried in the oven or the sun before use.