Recently, I came across this quotation attributed to Ralph Waldo
Emerson: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been
Nowadays, many people would classify the dandelion as a weed.
However, as Euell Gibbons says in his book Stalking the Wild
Asparagus, “…the botanical name of the common dandelion” (Taraxacum
officinale) translates, approximately, into “The Official Remedy for
Disorders,” the book’s chapter heading for the dandelion. Gibbons goes
on to say, “But how the mighty have fallen! This herbal hero, one of the
most healthful and genuinely useful plants in the materia medica of the
past, is now a despised lawn weed.”
So, going back to Emerson’s quotation above, the dandelion would not
qualify to be called a “weed,” since its many virtues were known in the
past and, according to Gibbons, also saved lives!
Isn’t it interesting how children, before they are taught that
dandelions are “just weeds,” enjoy this pretty yellow flower?
Years ago, I wrote this poem about the dandelion:
The dandelion lifts his face
Sun-golden, strong, and proud.
He doesn't know he's commonplace;
His head is never bowed.
Ignored, or trampled by your feet,
He is a winner still.
Defiant, he can face defeat;
His spirit's hard to kill.