The dandelion is loved by bees, butterflies, moths, and little children. Who can say that they have never blown on the seeds of the dandelion, that look like fluffy white hairs, and watched them float away on the wind?
But despite its wild beauty and its usefulness, the poor dandelion gets no respect. Even its name is a problem. The dande part has nothing to do with being a “dandy” (which it surely is). The name of this plant comes from the French words for tooth and lion--dent de leon—because of the pointy parts of its leaves. It might be called “lion tooth” in France, but when I was a boy in England, it was commonly called “Pee the bed” because the root is a strong diuretic. In some parts of Spain, it is called meacama, or “piss a bed.”
The dandelion also has other names. Among them are milk witch. horse flower. horse lettuce. mole’s salad. Irish daisy. worm rose. face clock. and yellow gowan. In England it is sometimes called white endive, but in Turkey it is called black endive.
To add injury to insult, the dandelion is asexual. There are no girl dandelions and no boy dandelions, therefore no sex. But despite all these insults, the dandelion holds its golden head up high with pride. After all, Ray Bradbury made its name famous with the title of a book, Dandelion Wine (1957). What could be a greater honor than that?