Dandelions: A Study in Ethics & Immorality

My girls, who will be 4 in July, LOVE dandelions!

Except we call them Tampopo (Tahm-POH-poh) which is Japanese for dandelion.  Every time we pass by a field of bright yellow fuzzy dandelions, or white, fluffy geodisic dome-topped ones, Halle and Zanna shout with joy and beg to be allowed to frolic, picking bouquets of yellow ones, or blowing mightily at handfulls of the white ones, sending the seeds wafting on the wind.

Sounds swell, don’t it?

But I have to admit to feeling a little inner wince when I think of where those seeds will end up: most likely in someone’s well-cared for lawn, or a community soccer field.

So how does one practice responsible dandelion blowing?  While there are no laws against it (to my knowledge), it does give me pause about allowing my girls unrestrained access to the things.

Dandelions are one of those plants that have some pretty hefty pros & cons:

Pros: They’re pretty-oh so pretty!,their leaves are edible in season-with lots of minerals and vitamins (high in vitamin C!), they bring minerals to the shallow depths of soil so that other plants have access to them, they’re medicinal – diuretic & “may” be good for Urinary Tract Infections and “may” be anti-inflammatory!  They’re good for the bees, and butterflies, and can be used to make dandelion wine!

Cons: They spread like, well..weeds!  They’re VERY prolific!  They upset the aesthetics of a well-manicured lawn, and would probably be pretty distracting (pun not intended 🙂  ) during a soccer game.  They’re also very hard to remove – you have to get the WHOLE root out, and the taproots go far down into the soil (it’s how they get all those healthy minerals!).

While personally, I think the world could use more dandelions, others are not of the same mind, so  I try to let my girls have their dandelion frolics in areas where there are dandelions aplenty already, my reasoning being that if someone really minded them being there in such great quantities, they’d have done something about it.

In conclusion: While dandelions are pretty, fun, useful and good for you, they can lead to ethical and moral quandries.

And when you practice responsible blowing, please remember: don’t inhale 😉

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandelion

**Disclaimer:  “My opinion is” The FDA is terrified of non-patentable things being “officially” recognized as having real health benefits – despite some things having clear and scientific proof of such – because it gets their buddies the pharmaceutical companies in a tizzy, so it’s illegal for anything but a drug approved by the FDA to be used to cure a disease, or for anything but a drug approved by the FDA to have health claims made about it, hence the word “may”.

**Note: some people may be allergic to dandelion pollen or have other allergic reactions to it, and for pete’s sake – don’t go eating dandelions that may have been sprayed with weedkillers and other pesticides or herbicides, or growing by the side of the road sucking up exhaust fumes from cars!

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