The Dandelion

Pissenlit en fleurs

The dandelion grows in mountain prairies and pastures with a preference for open areas and cool soil.  Sometimes it can be found at an altitude of more than 2000 meters.  Dandelion is very resistant to cold weather.  It requires direct sunlight and thus will not be found in wooded areas or the underbrush.

In French, Dandelion is also known as Lion’s Teeth due to its triangular shaped leaves.

It is a stubborn perennial plant with a taproot.  The lacy leaves spread out in a bow with triangular lobes.  The inflorescence consists of bright yellow, 5-petaled florets that bloom when sunlight is plentiful.  The flowers only last for about 4 days, but that’s enough time for an entire field to become bright yellow.

Being a high pollen producing, spring flower, the dandelion is very important for honeybees.  The flower allows them to start making honey before the late spring and summer flowers bloom.

Dandelion pollen is golden yellow or orange.  Worker bees cover themselves completely with the abundant pollen before returning to the hive.  A single dandelion can produce between 1 and 13 mg of nectar per day.  The nectar is 72% sugar and is high in fructose.  One inconvenience of an abundance of this strong honey is that it predisposes the bees to swarming.

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