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Issue No: 1266



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Today I was in a shoe store that sells only shoes, nothing else. A young girl with a tattoo and green hair walked over to me and asked, “What brings you in today?

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Third Story of the Week
DANDELIONS
  • The name “dandelion” comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth” referring to the serrated edges of the leaves, which resemble a lion’s dentistry.
  • There are about 100 species of dandelion.
  • The plant is native to Europe and eastern Asia but is now one of the most widespread plants across the planet.
  • The dandelion is a perennial plant, meaning it returns year after year.
  • Dandelions can grow under a wide variety of conditions, whether wet or dry, sunny or shady. They are among the first plants to colonize disturbed areas, such as after a fire or following construction. The more disturbed an area is, the more seeds they produce, giving them an edge over other plants.
  • The main taproot of a dandelion can reach 3 feet deep into the earth to find water, which helps it survive droughts. The longest tap roots ever found reached a length of 15 feet . The stalks can reach heights of 2 feet, helping loft the seeds into the breeze. The seeds are capable of being carried 5 miles on the wind before landing. The more you mow it, the shorter the stalks get. The leaves can reach lengths of 14 inches.
  • Every part of the dandelion is edible, both raw and cooked.
  • Dandelions grow only from seed, but a single dandelion can produce seeds without benefit of cross-pollination from a different dandelion plant, meaning a single plant can spread clones of itself over a wide area without any other dandelions being in the vicinity.
  • Individual plants can grow for 5-10 years and reach a considerable size, up to 20 inches across.
  • Depending on its size and health there can be anywhere from 54 to 172 seeds per dandelion head.
  • A single plant can produce 2,000 individual seeds each season.
  • Dandelion pollen cannot cause allergies because the grains are too large to be bothersome.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s tallest dandelion was grown in Ontario, Canada and topped out at a whopping 70 inches (177.8 cm).
  • A cup of dandelion greens contains about 112 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A and 535 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, as well as calcium, iron and magnesium. Dandelion greens have 50 per cent more vitamin C than tomatoes, twice as much protein as eggplant, and double the fiber of asparagus. They have as much iron as spinach and more potassium than bananas.
  • The leaves, if picked before the plant flowers, are often incorporated into salads with other greens.
  • Dandelion roots can be dried and ground and used as a substitute for coffee.
  • Fossils of dandelions found in Eurasia indicate the plant evolved around 30 million years ago.
  • Seeds were brought to North America by pilgrims on the “Mayflower” because the dandelion had medicinal uses. Other settlers and explorers brought dandelion seeds to California, Canada and Mexico.
  • Vineland, N.J., is known as the Dandelion Capital of the World due to the fact that the dandelion is a cash crop in the region. The first National Dandelion Festival was held in Vineland in 1973.