What is beautiful?

Dandelions are not beautiful. Or that’s what someone decided a while back.

America spends tens of millions of dollars eradicating this lovely flower from their blandly uniform green lawns.

I’m an American. My family doesn’t spend very much getting them out of our lawn, but we do prefer uniform green blandness. (I have been known to pick the little flowers and throw them in the street — not a very effective method for preventing them from returning.)

Apparently, it’s not just an American obsession. They are also considered weeds in England, Australia and Denmark — to name just a few other cultures that categorize them as a nuisance.

Even the post-flower seed blooms are amazing — uniform spheres of light fluffy helicopters, each waiting to be carried by the wind onto a neighbor’s yard. Ikea took inspiration from this stage of the plant to create their Maskros lamp.

The dandelion’s medicinal qualities are so many that one must venture to at least the third page of Google results until it’s possible to find any reference to them being weeds. (The French word is pissenlit.)

But who decided that dandelions are ugly? Maybe it’s the spiky green leaves — when the English word is translated from sort-of French, the word literally means “teeth of lions.”

Or maybe the flowers blooming so fast and growing taller than the grass around them offends people who appreciate consistency and visual homogeneity.

I vote for a law requiring that dandelions will forever be considered beautiful.

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2 Replies to “What is beautiful?”

  1. Maybe it’s the fact that they proliferate so easily and so determinedly. Or maybe that dandelions don’t submit to being mowed nice and short, like grass. But they are all over my yard, and I don’t work very hard to destroy them. I have occasionally spotted the little finches eating the seeds!

    This year, I decided to try eating them. Not the ones in my yard, because I caught my gardener spraying something around the yard in January (which I don’t permit, but I didn’t catch him in time). But I found them at the farmer’s market, and actually found quite a few recipes for cooking them much like other greens, or even eating them raw in salads. And if you are a fan of bitter herbs like arugula, they are pretty tasty!

    1. I agree, Deb!

      I love that you tried them & liked them.

      I totally forgot to include “dandelion wine.” I haven’t tried it, but it would be interesting, I’m sure.

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