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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Taraxacum mongolicum – Dandelion (seed)

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Taraxacum is a large genus in the Asteraceae family, native to Eurasia and North and South America. T. mongolicum is native to China and Mongolia and is used in TCM. The word Dandelion comes from the french words dent de lion meaning ‘lions teeth’ and referring to the toothed leaf margins.

While many people think of the dandelion as a pesky weed, it’s chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavour to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make wines. In the past, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhoea. So far, there have not been any good quality scientific studies on dandelion. Today, the roots are mainly used to stimulate the appetite, and for liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of too much fluid. Source: Dandelion | University of Maryland Medical Centre

Care and Cultivation of Dandelion

Sow Dandelion seed just under the surface of a quality seed raising mix and keep moist until germination in 7-14 days. Well drained soil in full sun. Fertilise frequently in the warmer months. Florets should be collected as they dry but before they split and release seeds which have an attached ‘wing’ to aid dispersal. Please check local laws before planting, as this plant may be subject to control as a weed in certain parts of Australia.

We have this growing in our vege garden as a year round supply of bitter salad greens. I guess in a few years I’ll dig them up and roast the roots for tea. I don’t find this plant weedy in the sense that it has a use in my kitchen and the chooks love it too.

30+ seeds per packet


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