Dandelions, the first flower we can identify when very young, along with buttercups and daisies,of course. Another weed, that allotment lovers, love to hate. Deep roots, promiscuous seeds and very, very good at rapidly colonising a bare patch of soil. Or even a densely populated patch of soil!
There are a few species, but I think the one I am looking at is Taraxacum officinale. I wasn't fond of them when I had an allotment. Other allotment holders hate you if you let your dandelions run wild.
Dandelion's flowers open in the morning with the sun, and close in the evening. It is one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring and one of the last go dormant in winter. It prefers cooler weather so will not flower so much during the summer. Dandelions are vital to the bees as they provide nectar early and late in the season. They are very beautiful too. I have been looking at them closely. I want to see them under a microscope and I want to see what their pollen looks like. I love the feathery seeds when they disperse. They are a perfect design, perfect! I haven't met anyone who didn't enjoy blowing the dandelion "clock" when they were a child.
Dandelions can adapt to any terrain and although they prefer loose soil, they can grow between the cracks in the pavement and out of walls. They certainly have a staying power and flourish in their sunshiny glory even after being attacked by the lawn mower.
I read lovely piece of writing about the staying power of the dandelion. This is the end of it. It is by someone called Donna Doyan.
"I hope we can be different. I hope that we can stretch our roots
deep enough that the strongest poison can't reach our souls. I hope that we can overcome the poisons of anger, fear, hate, criticism and competitiveness I hope that we can see flowers in a world that sees weeds."
I have eaten the leaves in a salad and I enjoyed them. They are rich in vitamins A, C with lots of iron and calcium too. Apparently dandelions give off ethylene gas which ripens fruit. It is said that fruit farmers let them grow under fruit trees for this purpose.