This month, Charlie celebrates all that’s blooming in Myrtle Beach with further exploration of the magical world of plants.
You know, my journey searching for luck with which to bless my endeavors of winning the heart of my sweetheart (still Winnie), has really sparked a deep fascination for plants and their myths, hidden meanings, and relationship to the rest of the living world.
And to think I never would have discovered this passion had I not been harboring some latent insecurity about my inamorata’s affections for me. It just goes to show that you can always use personal character flaws to your advantage in life. So the next time you’re feeling a bit down on yourself, remember that the glass is half full, not the other way ‘round.
At any rate, I’m so inspired by a plant (clover) that is so bursting with love (as I see it. I mean come on, it’s beloved by so many life-forms, plus it feeds other plants too) that it sometimes grows an extra leaf (a genetic abnormality, but hey, to each his own in the personal perspective department).
It got me thinking that if this one plant has such a multifaceted relationship with the rest of the world, then surely other plants must too. So this month, I’m examining in more detail the magic and mystery of the dandelion! One of the United State’s most misunderstood, and under-appreciated plants.
Dandelions and bunnies have a lot in common— for starters they appear to reproduce with reckless abandon, filling the hearts of those around them with dismay by the sheer volume of their multitudes; they both are soft and fuzzy; and they show their face more commonly in the spring. Unlike the beloved four leaf clover— elusive, mysterious, hidden, and shy— the joyful and unapologetically fecund dandelion is there, whether you like it or not— dotting the landscape with a riot of shocking yellow, that is, until it’s decimated by an application of weed killer.
But it was not always so. For centuries, the dandelion has been dear to the hearts of children and adults, the bright, happy yellow color a reassuring sign that spring was here and the dark winter was over. People would blow on the soft, white, fluffy ball once the flower faded to seed, scattering them, and a wish uttered on their lips as well, to the wind, to land and take root.
Aesthetic appreciation aside, dandelions have always been an important food source for people. The leaves carry the medicinal properties of the bitter taste. The French enjoy young leaves in salads, and in more recent years, health conscious folk juice them for their bitter, cleansing properties. According to Chinese medicine, spring is the season to cleanse, rejuvenate, and nourish the liver, giving that organ some love after slothful food and exercise patterns of winter have been discarded. It’s no coincidence that the bitter taste is precisely what supports the liver, and that dandelions grow in profusion at precisely the season when humans need that support most. And boy oh boy is it important! The liver stores the emotion of anger, so a sluggish unhappy one will fuel whatever anger you have and make it worse.
Dandelion root is often taken in the form of a tea, and helps with skin conditions like eczema and acne, arthritis, digestive issues, inflammation and boils. Whoah. I’m not sure what a boil is, but I sure am glad that there’s something out there that helps them. And to top it all off, the flower can be used to make your own wine.
Now that’s a lot of uses for one plant. But this piece of lore is my favorite— it is said that the dandelion represents the three celestial bodies— the yellow flower the sun, the fluffy ball of seed, the ethereal moon, and the dispersed seeds that soar with the wind, the stars. So consider all its many uses the next time you look disdainfully at the helpful dandelion.
And then, a quote I stumbled upon— ‘The difference between a plant and weed is a judgement.’
Words that could be applied to many things in life, no?