The dandelion, much more than a weed
Each spring, lawns, roadsides and paths adorn themselves with innumerable little suns that many people try to destroy, judging that they are merely weeds.
Recognizable thanks to its bright yellow flower, parachute-bearing seeds and notched leaves, the dandelion actually has unsuspected virtues.
The leaves, stem and roots of the dandelion are a rich source of vitamins, iron, potassium and antioxidant polyphenols.
Consumed in a salad or as juice, the dandelion strengthens the immune system, fights infection, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and of cancer, strengthens skin and bones, cleans the liver and slows aging of the body.
It is known to fight against rheumatism and arthritis. A decoction of dandelion roots applied to the skin helps combat skin infections.
At one time, dandelion flowers were picked to make a medicinal wine, and the latex of its stem was even used to make rubber.
The dandelion plays an important role ecologically. Published in 1935, the work of Brother Marie-Victorin called Flore laurentienne (“Laurentian vegetation”), mentions that the dandelion, “provides, towards the beginning of May, the first honeyflow of the spring, providing bees with abundant nectar and pollen”.
This perennial plant also feeds many small mammals. However, bearing in mind that dandelions concentrate pollutants and contribute to the decontamination of soils, harvest them on ground that has not been treated with chemical products and is protected from pollution.
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Jacques Prescott87 Posts
Jacques Prescott est biologiste, professeur associé à la Chaire en éco-conseil de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et co-fondateur de l’Animalium, le musée zoologique de Mont-Tremblant. Spécialiste de la biodiversité et du développement durable, il est l’auteur de nombreux livres et articles sur la faune et la conservation de la nature. Il nous fait l’honneur de rejoindre notre équipe de collaborateurs et signera chaque mois une chronique intitulée Faune et flore. / Jacques Prescott is a biologist, associate professor with the Chair in Eco-Counselling of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, and co-founder of Animalium, the zoological museum of Mont-Tremblant. A specialist in biodiversity and sustainable development, he is the author of numerous books and articles about wildlife and nature conservation. He has honoured us by joining our team of contributors and will write a monthly column entitled Wildlife and Habitat.