The common dandelion is an extremely successful plant that has spread all over the world from its original home in northern temperate Eurasia.
Its success is reflected in the fact that its name in many languages means something like ‘white man’s foot.’ Even here in the wilds of northern B.C., finding a common dandelion means other humans (or livestock) have been there before you.
One of the reasons it is so successful is because the flowers are really heads of many, many, tiny flowers called florets. It is fun to divide a head up into four equal parts, separate out the florets from one quarter and count them.
Then multiply your answer by four. Imagine one bumblebee visiting one head can pollinate so many flowers at one time. Each fertilized flower then develops into a tiny seed with a beautiful parachute attachment that aids the seed to disperse over huge distances, even in the slightest breeze.
Preventing dandelions from getting established is almost a lost cause. Fortunately, all parts of the plant are edible, so why not enjoy them by making wine with the flowers, eating the leaves in salads or eating the baked storage roots.
You can also make a type of coffee from the dried storage roots.
Bears love them.