Common Dandelion

  • Irish name: Caisearbhán

  • Scientific name: Taraxacum

Dandelions are tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plants. They are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and are very common. The leaves in general are 5-25mm long or longer, simple lobed, and form a rosette above the central taproot. The flower heads are yellow to orange colour and are borne on a single stem. It is commonly found in gardens, roadsides, and waste ground. It is the bees important food source in the spring. Butterflies and other insects love the honey smelling nectar from the beautiful flowers. In ancient Celtic times, February 1st was dedicated to the White Goddess of Ireland, England and Scotland. It was later dedicated to St. Brigid. Long ago, the white sap was taken as a spring tonic. It was known as Bhainne Na n-Éan Gas Searbhan, meaning birds milk and bitter stalk. Dandelion was cultivated in the Medieval Monestaries as part of their diet. It was also used as an important cleanser of kidneys and liver by people around Ireland and Europe. In Tipperary, the poultry farmers fed the leaves to their turkeys. During the emergency years, in counties Cork and Kerry, the dandelion roots were dried and powdered to make a coffee substitute. It is still sold in health food stores today. The sap was used as a wart removal. The sap was placed over the wart and left to dry. It was removed after some time.