Friday, July 31, 2009

photographed by Alex Bloom

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I did it.

I am happy to say that I have made a pink dandelion.

in my inbox this morning

Hi Nicole--

My name is Tom Reber, and I am the estate gardener at Meadowbrook Farm (Jenkintown)--I studied art (alt-process photography) for three years at Dickinson College before leaving to study horticulture at Longwood for two years.

Anyway, we did have a pink dandelion at Longwood in the research greenhouses while I was there. I am not completely sure where Tomasz (the plant curator) procured it, but he had been on a couple of plant expeditions to South America as well as the Balkans in the months before it showed up.

The sad part of the story is that the plant was deemed "not of display value," and sent to the compost. Tomasz did rescue it from that fate, but I don't know what happened to it--I saw it when he brought it back to his office; it had a certain charm of its own. I don't know if there are any pictures of it, but you can contact Tomasz at to see if he has any more information.

Good luck, and I hope everything works out!

Tom Reber

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today I candied some more dandelions but this time with pink sugar. I wasn't really expecting it to look fabulous... and it didn't... it looked like a pink candied dandelion... not so much like a pink dandelion should.

However, I put some dandelions in the toaster oven when they had closed up. I'm not quite sure what my motivation was to do this... exhaustion, perhaps? I guess I was sort of thinking about what happens when you put Peeps in the microwave... that maybe something cool and unexpected may happen to dandelions? Well, whatever, I was right. They didn't turn pink, but they did fluff up. About half of them opened up and puffed out and turned into a seed heads.

So, I tried out candying one of the seed heads... not as easy as expected. It ended up all goopy and lumpy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Temple University... not up to date with the "weed" control

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wedding is Off

I recently decided that I have somewhat of a school girl crush on a celebrity who shall go unnamed. And, for the past couple days I've been drawing my name and his in hearts and daydreaming about our wedding. Today, though, I found his blog... and, perhaps, I don't understand the whole self advertising business ("I'm this", "I'm that"). Pshh, you are a celebrity... you are most certainly NOT shy. If you were at one time, I think that if you are performing in front of thousands, you've gotten over it. Needless to say, after I found this blog... and his twitter... I'm out looking for a new future husband. He no longer makes the cut. But, the one thing that I found interesting about his blog were the 267 comments for every post that he had made ("U the best baby <3", "I love you!", blah blah).

I began thinking about how this blog functions because we all know that I am not getting anywhere near 267 comments for each of my posts. And I know that I am not a celebrity and my base of supporters is probably significantly smaller than the the entire American public listening to the radio and watching television. I am updating those who are interested on a research project, not my way of life and style. But, in some sense, this project has become a way of life... checking on the baby dandelions everyday, hanging out on the studio researching dandelions instead of watching You Tube videos and making objects. I was also thinking that I have a very face-to-face relationship with many people that are followers of the project... that those who are interested in the project do more than just post a comment... that those who are interested are more real than, say, Candice in TX.

Ian recently emailed me and told me that the blog is too convenient on it's own... which I agree with.... and I decided that is the nature of any blog. You get back exactly what you want.
hi nicole,

i am attaching a picture of a dandelion i took for you whilst hiking. this is way out out the very tip of the dingle peninsula in western ireland. sometimes i would go miles and not see any, then other times, as in the case, there would be many amongst the other wildflowers. - the picture looks lovely, but think gale force winds and cold temperatures - not so warm as it looks.

oh yeh, and i meant to say, in the picture i sent, see how the other wildflowers are all purple hues, the pink dandelion would fit right in, the yellow was so bright and stark when i would come across it on these rough headlands.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

I have a friend visiting me this weekend. She's living in New York City this summer but from California. We know each other from way back when... when we were seven and both still lived on the outskirts of San Francisco.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the people that come in and out of life... it seems as though, at least lately, relationships and friendships continue to fluctuate. One minute one person is somewhere, and then next minute they are somewhere else, and all the meanwhile I'm over here and trying to get over there.... and then sometimes we just happen to meet in the middle... sometimes we stay for a long while, or a little while.

And really though the same thing could be said about thinking/ figuring things out... sometimes everything clicks and we meet in the middle and then, everything works.

The dandelions at the Crane are growing much bigger. One of them is over 9 inches with broad wide leaves and it's growing a thick maroon base. Another update: the carnations in the studio are still alive... and not droopy at all... hooray Super Fresh on Columbus Blvd.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Philadelphia Inquirer

There is a wonderful article in the Inquirer today about the project on pages E1 and E6. Be sure to have a look!

And also, it's here on the internet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I stumbled upon this site, like I stumble upon everything in a Google search... and under folklore I found that when blowing the seeds off of the head of a dandelion "It's said that if you can blow all the seeds off with one blow, then you are loved with a passionate love. If some seeds remain, then your lover has reservations about the relationship. If a lot of the seeds still remain on the globe, then you are not loved at all, or very little."

I was always under the impression that blowing the seeds off a dandelion were like blowing the candles out on a birthday cake. If you blow them all out, your wish comes true. Similarly, if you close your eyes and make a wish, and blow all the seeds off then your wish comes true.

I always wonder where all the seeds end up the same way I wonder where balloons go when they are let go. I know that the whole "wind dispersal" seed method is part of what makes dandelions capable of sowing their seeds so easily... the seeds just probably end up everywhere, and then end up turning into a dandelion.

And, more things that I stumbled into:

To the Dandelion

The Dandelion and the Bee

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today I went out running on the same route as yesterday. Today I made a point to make sure that I counted the floweing dandelions on my left, so that when I turned around I did not count the same one twice. And, I also made sure that my eyes didn't leave the ground (although, my old track coaches would have killed me if they saw it). I counted a total of 84 flowers! How lovely!

Back to the city and to go check on the dandelions in a few hours.

sticky fingers...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today I went out for a run after I got to New Jersey and the rain died down a bit. My mom has been telling me that there are not any dandelions around the house... and, I'm afraid that she's mistaken. There were so many! I counted 19 flowers on my run before I lost count... on my way back I couldn't remember which ones I had already counted. I saw a lot of them too that weren't blossoming. My brother tells me that I probably have a knack/ an eye for finding them now.... he's probably right.

I was right to think that coming back here would be a good thing for me. I went over to the Clarke's house tonight and got a good deal of encouragement and a few laughs. They suggested beets... which I will try. They also suggested strawberries and raspberries which were on my list of things to try as well. I'm also going to try to candy them with pink sugar instead of white... Mrs. Clarke was candying violets and they were just gorgeous. She has more patience than I do for those things. We talked a good deal about Martha Stewart.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I am back at the drawing board, but with a glimmer of hope in the form of red food dye. Tomorrow I am heading to my parents house for about 36 hours which, should, shed some light onto a few things. I'll be sure to see the Clarkes and a few other close family friends who have been following the project closely... some fresh opinions/ fresh sets of eyes... if anything, a little more greenery around me could definitely do me some good.

On Saturday my good friend, Holly, and I went and picked dandelions all morning. She and I used to go for runs near where I have been picking and we had a really good time wandering our old stomping ground... well, at least I did. We (after a little of my convincing) stopped for ice cream on our way back into the city. There are some things that never change, but always make me smile. When we eat ice cream, somehow, we almost always finish eating at the same time.

There's something satisfying about those little "ah-ha" moments where clarity is restored and things sort of make sense again, like eating ice cream with a close friend. Tomorrow= clear head... new thought process... I have eleven days and a lot of sorting, thinking, and rearranging to do.

I was asked recently which variation of pink I'm aiming for... this is, more or less, what I'm looking for. However, I'm not going to be picky if something more or less vibrant falls into my lap.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What about Red?

Here are the results from yesterday's experiment as observed at 9:30 tonight...

...nothing... I'm thinking that because the vinegar didn't do anything the first time around because egg dye is made with vinegar

Absolutely nothing... except turning the ammonia yellow? Strange?

Ah, now... but what about red? That's pretty close...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I tried three things today... no luck as of yet. Although the red food coloring looks like it's having some impact on one of the dandelions that has already gone to seed. I'm leaving the studio for the the evening, and will be checking on it tomorrow morning... fingers crossed!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Where things are...

shout out from Temple U in the Temple Today email:

Temple Today Newsletter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top Stories

* Temple students take state budget concerns to Harrisburg: Temple Student Government (TSG) leaders delivered approximately 3,000 letters expressing "extreme concern" about Gov. Rendell's budget proposal, which would cut $31.5 million in state funding to the university.

* Another season of madness: Historian says popular Mad Men series realistically depicts power constructs of the 60s.

* Summer Blog Upddate: The Pink Dandelions Project:Tyler School of Art student Nicole Wilson chronicles her research work in attempting to create a new, pink breed of dandelion. Her online journal, which also includes recipes for candied dandelions and dandelion cookies, is one of three new student blogs added this week.

* Hope floats: Local middle school students participate in Raft Rally as part of CST's 14-day ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.

* Just for fun: New NIH grant funds research on how free-time activities can help recovery from mental illness.

* College of Engineering expands into Middle East: New 2+2 agreement will bring students from United Arab Emirates to Temple.

For daily Temple University headlines, announcements and media mentions, as well as PDFs of recent issues of the Temple Times, visit the Online Newsroom at
Below are highlights of Temple-sponsored events. For complete listings, visit the, where you can sign up for event notices, create RSS feeds and filter to see specific categories.

* Sunday Evening Summer Concert Series: SUNDAY, June 12. 6:30 p.m., Ambler Campus Learning Center, front lawn. Catch the second concert in the summer series as Steve & Steve take the stage. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy a musical summer atmosphere. For details, contact

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today was quite the day of running around... and, sorry to say, that no large leaps in research were made today. I met with a very nice woman today named Ginny (same name as my practically sister/ neighbor growing up) who is interested in the project. She met me up at the studio and we talked mostly about the project, but a lot about my background and my impetus to create a pink dandelion.

I have a slew of reasons, mind you, why I am after such a ridiculous, yet arduous task. I wrote this out a while ago:

Dandelions functions as lighthearted intermediary. Normally dandelions are passed off, discarded, and treated as pests although they have really great qualities. As with many things, their presence is devalued. To make a pink dandelion would make the overlooked extraordinary. The creation of a pink dandelion is a very elegant and romantic image, however at the same time in its creation observing some sense of absurdity.
I chose to make a dandelion pink because, in my mind, it was the most romantic and the most poetic option. Also after researching dandelions after I initially came up with the idea, I found that there are many "close calls" but not an exact pink dandelion and this made the concept so much more desirable to me. There is the wildflower Crepis (commonly known as Pink Hawksbeard) which looks very similar to a dandelion but it is not at all the same flower. Crepis rubra, this flowers' pink version, has the appearance of a pink dandelion. Also, Taraxacum pseudoroseum (the yellow dandelion is called Taraxacum officinale), is close to a pink dandelion, but not quite there yet. It is pink on the outside and yellow in the middle.

Today I, also, met with a good friend who I have not seen since May. It was good to hear a fresh voice and opinion about the project. He asked me if I had been writing about the dandelions. I told him that I was but that it was easier for me to write out an answer to a question than it was for me just sit down and write about how I feel about them... maybe, though, the blog on some level functions as that forum for me.

I see art making as a means of understanding like I see research as a means of understanding. I see them both as one in the same. Art making brings to light those things that we cannot comprehend, and maybe to some extent, I would argue, cannot fully grasp. And research is a means of figuring out the "why" in the world. Art making is a means of research and a way to figure things out and similarly research can be a means of art making and a way to figure things out.

In any case, this performance, art making, research, figuring out how to make a pink dandelion... it has about two more weeks. I am still of the mindset, as naive as it sounds, that if one believes that they can do something then they will be able to do it. And, perhaps, maybe it's not just the end result (the pink dandelion) or just the act of making (figuring out and researching how to make a pink dandelion). Perhaps there's more to the questions that come up when reading the blog, or the suggestions that I get when I talk to someone on the street, or the looks that I get when I'm picking the last flowering dandelions of the season, or the basic question that I hear ten times a day (but not to worry, it never gets old), "How are the dandelions coming?"

Don't worry... they are doing just great!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From my cousin:
"So you're doing some serious scientific artistic work eh? I can't imagine.

Update 1:

Yes... I am doing some serious work.

Update 2:

I am still on track. Although I do not have a pink dandelion yet, I do not have this (Ian sent me this and said, "i don't know how you mutate them, but weird things have been observed..."). In any case, since he sent it to me, I found this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this. I'm going to stick to trying to make fantasy reality... and something pretty.

Update 3:
I painted dandelions today... they look a little sad in the real, but not too bad in pictures:

Update 4:
Mr. Clarke suggested more light for the dandelions growing in the Crane. Last night I put another three clamp lights on the structure. We will see!
Those that know me, know that I am the person who always stops and picks up change off the ground no matter what. I've stopped (numerous times) in the middle of crossing Broad St to pick up a dime when the light was yellow. Today was another one of those days where I overslept and I was running late. When I did wake up (an hour later than I was supposed to) I was, as I normally am when I oversleep, flustered and annoyed. This morning, though, was special because I went into the bathroom and for some reason there was a penny in the bathtub. I was instantly not angry with myself anymore. I'm not really sure how a penny ended up in the bathtub or why. It must have been my roommate... we we're (to the furthest extent of my knowledge) the only two people in the house last night and this morning.

It may be the nice day or my fairly great mood from finding that penny, but this morning I decided that I was going to adopt some full grown dandelions to keep the baby dandelions in my studio company. Let it be known that this idea is easier said than done. I now fully understand why it is almost impossible to get rid of dandelions when people don't want them in their gardens.

I went to the park with my newly bought trowel... and they wouldn't come all the way out of the soil. I would get really deep down next to the roots and then the root would (unbeknownst to me) turn suddenly. Then I would end up cutting the root in half (on accident)... leaving the half with the flower (the half that I wanted) incapable of being transplanted. I gave up after about an hour of this... it happened every single time, every single dandelion that I came across. Needless to say, there will be no Big Brother/ Big Sister Program in the studio.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Supply crazy:

Some new friends to add to the mix of things:

Some new friends donated for research purposes:

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Make a Mold

Product Call:

And when I asked Ian:

as for casting/ molding dandelions.. jeezz.. you can make one time use plaster molds the facing half of a flower by laying the flower down and mixing plaster and putting it on quite thin when it goes creamy, not going past the center line of the half. when this sets carefully - tweezers - pull all the flower bits out and you can then dampen the plaster and put in hot wax, when it sets up cut away excess and you have wax of half the flower.. can then take this wax and use it for a lost wax casting technique..

in terms of using mold rubber, if you can stiffen the flower sufficiently, some sort of spray lacquer i guess - watch out for rubber compatability - once you get the mold - single block? then whatever material you use to cast has to be so thin to be forced in there, or you need vacuum forming or injection molding technology..
actually one of those hot plastic sheet plastic former things would give you a half mold ok.. dont think tyler has one of those though..

My friend, Faith, is good with making molds and she said that she'd help me.
I have an off assortment of things that I have to buy:
Pots (lots and lots)
Small paintbrushes
Acrylic spray
Puffy paint
Polyester dye
Cotton dye
Red food coloring
Carnations (both white and pink)
Pink flowers (assorted)
Floral spray
**things may still be added to this list**

Adam, on Saturday, said that his younger brother (who apparently is very into flowers) thinks that altering the pH of the soil isn't going to do anything. I, frankly, agree... but I figure that anything at this point is worth a shot.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I believe that I would rank today as a success.

I woke up early this morning to go pick dandelions. I always find that as stressful as the drive is up Broad Street (past both hospitals) but it's always worth it. I get out of my car and can just set my mind to searching for something and I know what it looks like and they're usually easy to spot. This morning was a nice morning and I found a lot quickly, which made me smile.

My parents have a way of always showing up early for any event. I should start telling them that things start a half an hour later than they do so that they show up fifteen minutes late... and then we'd be running on the same schedule. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke helped me with a lot of the preliminary planning and it was nice that they were able to come and finally see everything together and in the space. And it was really nice that friends were able to stop by and everyone could talk about the project together.

Tomorrow will be a planning day. I will be making a list of materials and supplies, tying up loose ends in my research so that Monday I can get down to business and really turn this studio into a makeshift laboratory/ workshop.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Studio Notes

Moving forward...
Yesterday I drove to Elkins Park looking for dandelions. I had a nice walk through the park looking for flowers... and, unfortunetly, there weren't too many in bloom. However, there were more than enough in bloom so that, today, I was able to make candied dandelions and dandelion cookies for tomorrow. I was also able to make some iced tea... and that should be delicious as well (actually, though, I know that it is because I tasted it). So for tomorrow (again it's from one to three), please bring ideas and an appetite! You will also have the pleasure of meeting my parents who will be driving down from New Jersey.

I have two recipes for dandelion cookies, one that Mrs. Clarke found for me and one that I found online. I suggest adding more flour to the one that Mrs. Clarke gave me (which is the first recipe) and the 1 3/4 cup of flour to the second recipe.


1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup dry oatmeal

1/2 cup dandelion flowers

Blend the oil and honey and beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, oatmeal. Gently add the dandelion flowers. Using a teaspoon, drop the batter onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet.* Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen

From Pat Clarke via Press-Enterprise Newspaper


1/2 CUP shortening
1/4 CUP + 2 TBSP white sugar
1/4 CUP + 2 TBSP brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 TSP vanilla
1/2 TSP soda
1/4 TSP salt
1/4 CUP yellow dandelion petals (more or less to taste) - washed and patted dry
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 CUPS all purpose flour (less for drop cookies, more for shaped cookies)

Cream together the shortening and sugars.

When light and fluffy, add the vanilla and egg. Beat well.

Mix in all the dry ingredients, including the dandelion petals.

Drop by spoonfuls or roll into balls about 1/2 inch round, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 7 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.


Mrs. Clarke also told me how to make these and it was pretty simple... brush on egg whites and sprinkle on superfine sugar. She showed me violets that she had candied and they were a lot neater than these guys that I did today. I'm a little clumsier than she is I guess, but I resorted to dunking the egg white covered dandelion flowers in the sugar. They are strangely delicious. I always thought that sour and sweet went well together... these are more like bitter and sweet, but it's a very interesting taste combination.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The other day when I was picking dandelion flowers I found these guys lingering around... they fooled me for about a half a second when I was a couple of yards away. They aren't dandelions, however their flowers look very similar.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yesterday, Ian sent me an email with this in it:

now, the next one is going to rock you a bit.... remember that there is nothing new under the sun, and ideas are not as valuable as thet once were, nowadays it is more what you do with them and how it is presented, and your project is very much about the public engagement and the absurdity..

anyway, i suggest you email the artist Amy Youngs, who for a few years now has apparently been trying to grow a BLUE dandelion! or i can email her if you feel weird doing it..

her objectives, though there is some overlap, are different, and her struggle is not public.. but anyway...? as far as i can tell she has had no success.

So, I emailed her:

Amy Youngs,

My name is Nicole Wilson and I am a student at Tyler School of Art/ Temple University in Philadelphia. This summer I received a research grant to create a pink dandelion. My professor and mentor, Ian Burns, recently showed me your project to create a blue dandelion and suggested that I contact you. I update my research at and have a sculpture (which I view as a stand in for the art making) at the Crane Arts building (

I was wondering if you have had any success in creating a blue dandelion or if your project is purely speculative?

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Thank you

Nicole Wilson

And, I heard back from her:

Hello Nicole,

Project Pink Dandelion sounds fun!

The project I did, Hypernatural Industries: Project Dandelion, was indeed pure speculation - with a dose of digital image manipulation and a seed sculpture to go with it. I was thinking about how this kind of thing might develop - once it is made and spread around, will it be as uncontrollable as the yellow type? The uncontrolled nature of the dandelion makes them commonly seen and my sense is that is why they are so hated and deemed "weeds". It seems they would need to be less common and more easily controlled by humans in order to be loved.

My favorite writer about genetic art is George Gessert. If you have not yet read his article called "Notes on Genetic Art," (in Leonardo 26, No. 3) I think you will enjoy it. Blue roses are discussed.

Laura Cinti comes to mind as another artist you will want to know about, if you don't already. She worked with scientists to create a cactus that grew human hair. And of course there is Eduardo Kac's latest project that combines his own genes into a petunia. Exciting times. If you end up focusing in bio art, you might consider doing this new residency in Portugal called Cultivamos Cultura, which is organized by Marta deMenezes, the artist who genetically manipulates butterfly wings, among other things.

If a pink dandelion is made, I definitely want to know about it. I subscribed to your blog.

Good luck!


Monday, July 6, 2009

I will officially be holding a "meet and greet" for the project on this Saturday, July 11th, from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Crane Arts Building!

Please bring your ideas with you!
date Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 2:02 PM
Re: Thank You!/ Pink Dandelion Project

Hi Nicole -
I am not sure if I replied to you or not. As I have not checked my Temple e-mail on this however, if you are looking to breed a pink dandelion this is something huge. Is this what you are talking about?? This is a very specialized field of plant genetics and you would have to hook up with someone that specializes in plant genetics or a specialist i

date Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM
Re: Thank You!/ Pink Dandelion Project

sorry did not finish. A specialist that works on weeds.
Give me a ring or e-mail to talk further on the project.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

Ian sent me this in an email a little while ago:
yeh, i would think
july 4th would be a dud - unless you can make dandelion fireworks.-- oh HANG ON! that is the name of a kind of firework display.. a quick google search yields a bunch of stuff.. you might be able to get some interesting stuff for your blog at least

So, here are some images from a Google search:



And then this video is from the firework display at the Art Museum last night:

Friday, July 3, 2009

The studio has closed for the ENTIRE 4th of July weekend... thus meaning that I will be bumming internet off of friends all weekend. AND that I am unable to take care of the dandelions in my studio... big bummer.

I have a stack of books though to go through this weekend so I'll still be able to get some work done despite the studio closure. It seems as though every outlet that begin to research hits a dead end. Ian sent me an email telling me to make more posts with the dandelions and about the dandelions... and he's right, I should, but all the dead ends are getting depressing. The idea of a pink dandelion fills me with the same sort of hope that seeing an elk does. Thinking about it makes me smile like when I get a cappuccino in the morning and the foam on top looks like a heart.

So, mark your calenders! On July 11 from 1 pm to 3 pm I'll be hosting an event at the Crane to get some input and help. I'd like anyone and everyone who is interested in the project to stop by and offer up advice, ideas, questions, comments and support. I'm planning to make dandelion wine and candied dandelions for everyone and to learn a lot!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants p 214
Arnold and Connie Krochmal
New York Times Book co, Inc NY, NY 1973
• Biennial or perennial growing 2 to 12 inches tall
• Deeply serrated leaves form basal rosette
• Roots use to increase urine flow, as a laxative, as a tonic, to treat liver and spleen ailments, and to stimulate appetitive
• Tea of boiled flowers for heart trouble
• Juice in roots to treat liver diseases
• Cooked young greens to purify blood- Indians
• Root tea to cure heartburn- Indians
• Paste of ground leaves and bread dough for bruises
• Leaves for salad greens, flowers to make wine

Common Weeds of the United States p 438-9
Prepared by the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
Dover Publications Inc NY, NY 1971
• Compositae
• Taraxcum officinale weber
• Perennial herb from thick taproot often several feet deep
• Many-branched crowns
• Milky juice
• Reproducing seeds by new shoots from the root crowns
• “Stems very short and wholly underground producing a rosette of leaves a the ground surface”
• “Leaves from 5 to 40 cm long variable in shape from lobeless or entire to being divided into many shallow deep-cut lobes with long soft points and intermediate small teeth, a larger lobe at the tip, or the edges merely toothed narrowed at the base into a short hollow petiole, usually pubescent”
• “Flower heard 2-5 cm in diameter in flower, solitary at the end of a naked hollow stalk 5-75 cm long”
• “Receptacle flat or convex, naked”
• “Flowers all strap-shaped ray flowers, golden-yellow, 5-notched at the tip, 100-300 per head”
• “Bracts (phyllaries) green to brownish, surrounding the flower heads in 2 rows, the outer row hanging down and one-third to one-half as long as the inner, erect row”
• “Achene yellowish to greenish-brown, 3-4mm long, 5- to 8- ribbed on each side with minute curved spines on the rib margins of the upper half of the seed”
• “Beak threadlike, 2-4 times longer than the body of the seed, topped by a tuft of whitish hairs (pappis), 3-4 mm long, persistent”
• “Flowering and fruiting from march to frost of throughout the year in warmer areas”
• “Nearly ubiquitous weed in waste areas, lawns, overgrazed pastures and meadows, open fields and roadsides from sea level up to about 12000 ft elevations”
• Mainly a lawn pest, but also in hayfields and pastures, often an impurity in Kentucky bluegrass and forage grass seeds. Introduced and naturalized from Eurasia: perhaps also native of northern America. Throughout most to the United States”

Weeds friends of foe? P 116-7
Sally Roth
Readers Digest Association Inc Pleasantville, NY 2002
• “At maturity, the spent flower closes up into a cylindrical mass of silky hairs and seeds. The flower stem lengthens even more to raise the seed head above surrounding plants so that the wind can freely disperse the seed”
• Sun, well-drained soil, year-round with peak bloom in spring
• Ground hugging but seed puff rises 12 to 18 inches tall

Desk Reference to Natures Medicine p 130 and 131
Steven Foster and Rebecca L. Johnson
National Geographic Washington D.C.
• Family asteraceae
• “Small perennial with a stout taproot, dandelion has long, toothed leaves that form a basal rosette. Yellow. Solitary flowers are followed by spherical, fluffy “seed” heads. All parts of the plant exude a somewhat butter, milky latex”
• “Native to Europe and Asia, dandelions grown almost everywhere throughout the world’s temperate regions. They thrive in nitrogen [rich soil in pastures, gardener, and lawns and are cultivated in Germany and France”
• “The first recoded reference to dandelion in Chinese medical texts was in A.D. 659. The herb was used to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, breast inflammation, to stimulate milk flow and to reduce abscesses in the breast and intestines. By the tenth century, Arabian physicians were writing about dandelion in their medical journals. Once introduced to Europe, dandelion became a prized medicinal plant. European herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea. They also used it for liver complaints. Native Americans used dandelion for decoctions to treat kidney disease, swellings, skin problems, heartburn, and dyspepsia.”
• “In traditional Chinese medicine today, dandelion is prescribed for ling and breast tumors, jaundice and hepatitis, mastitis, abscesses, and urinary tract infections. In Western herbal medicine, the herb is considered a remedy for a wide range of conditions that can benefit from mild diuretic action, including poor digestion, liver disorders, urinary tract infections, and high blood pressure. Fresh or dried dandelion preparations are used to stimulate appetite and ease stomach distress. Dandelion root is used as a mild laxative and to improve digestion, as well as treat gallstones, jaundice, and other liver problems. Dandelion is also used for chronic joint complaints, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. IT is still respected as one of the best tonic herbs for building the blood and combating anemia. The juice of the dandelion root is used to treat diabetes”.
• “Dandelion contains a variety of acids, sugars, and other nutrients (iron, zinc, boron, calcium, silicon, and especially potassium), and vitamins A, B complex, C and D. Despite the fact hat dandelion as long been recommended as a diuretic, studies of its potent diuretic properties have yet to identify the substance or substances that are responsible for this action. Some researchers have proposed that dandelion’s diuretic activity may simply be the result of the high potassium content of its leaves and roots. While most conventional diuretics cause a loss of potassium from the body, dandelion contains so much potassium tat despite its diuretic effects, potassium levels do not generally decline. Some preliminary studies on diabetic mice suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels. Extracts of dandelion have been shown to have antimicrobial and antibacterial effects and some animal studies have shown it to have moderate anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In test tube studies, dandelion extracts have also shown antitumor activity against liver, colon, and melanoma cancer cell lines”

Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Second Edition p 64 and 65
Bradford Angier
Stackpole Books, 2008, Mechanicsburg, PA
• “Often the first wildflowers that foretell the spring and one of the last in the fall”
• “Composed of numerous, individual, tiny flower tubes, each broadening into as slim long strap. The golden tubes are arranged on a round disk with the straps extending in a circle, those at the edges unfurling first”
• “Each of the flowers nods by itself at the end of a long hollow stalk that, when broken, emits a bitter milky juice similar to what oozes from the cut or abraded roots. Directly beneath the golden head is a verdant cup composed of slender, pointed, green leaves, a few of which twist back toward the cylindrical stem. Nights and on rainy days, the leaves of the cup lift and cover the gilded pedals with their greenery”
• “Once the blossoms wither, the round disks that hear them become white with the unbranched, short, white hairs that radiate in tiny tufts from the tips of each of the multitudinous sees.”
• “The dandelion’s flowers and seed heads are a favorite spring and summer food of Canada geese, grouse, partridge, pheasant, prairie chickens, and quail. Blackbirds, siskins, and sparrows are among the songbirds that relish the seeds. Deer, noose, elks, black bears and grizzlies, the little prairie dogs, and the even sprier and smaller chipmunks eat the plants.”
• “Raw dandelion greens, 85 percent water, have an abundant 14,000 international units of vitamin A per 100 grams, plus 0.19 milligrams of thiamine, 0.26 of riboflavin, and 35 of the vital ascorbic acid”
• “198 milligrams of calcium, 76 of sodium, 397 of potassium”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Philadelphia Weekly

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