The Dandelion: a poem about an important little flower


The Poet of the Week for this week’s W3 Poetry Prompt#53 is Brandon Ellrich. Here are his prompt guidelines:

  • Now that May has arrived, I’d like you to write a descriptive poem about your favorite flower; 
    • Write about its fragrance (if it has one), its look, and/or how it makes you feel; 
    • It can also be a metaphor for growth, romance, or renewal; 
    • There’s no restriction on form or device.

My favourite flower

The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is my favourite flower. It is an undervalued flower that has a lion’s heart (or I should say *lion’s tooth!). It is a generous flower that gives. It gives to a wide range of insects, beetles, etc. even though the plant doesn’t need its dependants to pollinate—It can manage that itself. It can self pollinate. This doesn’t prevent it from supplying vital nectar and pollen to myriads of creatures.
We too, can enjoy the benefits of this beautiful little wild flower. Dandelion leaves are edible, rich in vitamins—and can make a tasty salad, while the flowers can make an accompaniment for the dish with a bottle of dandelion wine. The plant also has medicinal properties. Not bad for a member of the daisy family.

The Dandelion

Dandelions in a Vase | Oil: Digital painting©️Lesley Scoble
The Dandelion

Don’t mow the dandelion,
don’t kill it, please,
let it grow, 
let it grow,
for the birds and the bees 
Save it for insects,
(They need them, you know) 

They rely on 
The dandelion 

Do not pull-up the dandelion. 
don’t think it’s a weed! 
it is a flower bees rely on 
It is a pollinator’s need. 
(Including the fly) 
Without dandelion flowers 
Their world (and ours) 
will die. 

Don’t pull up the dandelion! 
(Why do you think you should?) 
don’t see it as a foe. 
Don’t you know,
it’s a vital source of food?
Let it grow.

We need the dandelion. 
now more than ever 
so, don’t weed the flowers. 
let them be there forever. 
myriads of animals
Flies, 
beetles 
Birds, 
bees, 
The moth and the butterfly
Flutter, 
flutter by—
and tiny unknown beasts
Land upon the dandelion
To suck upon the feasts.

Without dandelion flowers
Their world (and ours) 
Will die 

We all rely on
The dandelion

Lesley Scoble, May 2023

Weed

“Dandelions are just a weed” some people say. The word weed (woed) is an Old English name, meaning flower. When William the Conqueror conquered Britain, his Norman French became the upper class language that was spoken at court. The posh word for a bloom was the French word “ fleur” which morphed to “flower” in English. The poor Old English word “weed” was low status. Therefore the poor undervalued flowers remained weeds. A common flower.

Tick, tock, tell the time with the dandelion clock

As a child I blew the dandelion clock to tell if it was time to go home for tea. Here’s a senryū where I try to express that childhood moment.

A child’s eager breath, 
Dandelion clock takes flight, 
Time flies with the seeds. 

Lesley Scoble, May 2023
Blow the dandelion clock to find out the time | Photo©️Lesley Scoble
The scientific name for dandelion clock is Pappus
Dandelion clocks, in a field on the Pevensey Levels | Photo©️Lesley Scoble

When the flowers have faded and turned into their delicate globes of fluffy seed heads called “the pappus”, the dandelions continue to provide important benefits. The wind catches the seeds and carries them away to pastures new. The dandelion seeds waft on the wind to spread and establish new colonies. This helps to maintain healthy populations of dandelions and also provides a source of food for birds and other animals that feed on the seeds.

Dandelion seeds are fascinating and beautiful in their own right. A pappus has fine bristles that help catch the wind and carry the seed far away from its parent plant. The seeds are light, and their ability to travel on the slightest breeze has earned them the nickname “blowball.”

Medicinal Value
The seeds are rich in vitamins A and C, and minerals iron, calcium, and potassium. 
In the past, dandelion seeds’ were used by apothecaries to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, digestion, and melancholy. 

Dandelions are a fascinating, beautiful and important part of our natural world. 

The Daisy Family

The dandelion belongs to the daisy (Asteraceae) family. A large, diverse family that has over 23,000 species of plants. Familiar Asteraceae plants include sunflowers, asters and chrysanthemums.
Like other members of the daisy family, the dandelion features small packed clusters of individual flowers, each with their own reproductive structures.

NOTES
The name dandelion is late Middle English : from French dent-de-lion , translation of medieval Latin dens leonis ‘lion's tooth’ (because of the sharp jagged shape of the leaves).

THANKS
My thanks to Poet of the Week, Brandon Ellrich for his floral prompt. My thanks as always to David, Skeptics Kaddish.

Post Script
The poetry prompt was all about flowers—so I thought I might add an iPhone photo of May’s Flower Moon (full on 5th May). I the took the snapshot last night from the window of a cottage at Normans Bay (we are on a week’s break by the sea). The beach huts are silhouetted in the foreground.
It is two nights after the Flower moon was at its full height. It was past midnight and yet it could be midday! It shone like a sun.

The Flower Moon, past midnight, Normans Bay | Photo©️Lesley Scoble

23 responses to “The Dandelion: a poem about an important little flower”

  1. The Normans did that to a lot of words, especially with regard to cuisine. Pork, beef (French)vs pig, cow (English). I suppose that the banquet table was all about showing off their culture and power to everyone. Those third generation noble kids… Nuff said!

    I always used to picture a Regency period dandified lion when I heard the name…with a golden cravate and everything, riding a posh Cinderella carriage.

    I guess ‘teeth’ makes more sense 😂

    You always make your posts so interesting, Lesley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Tanmay 🌹

      I did too! A dandy lion 🦁 is a lovely image. The flower is gold, like a mane.

      Funny how its name is because of the sharp shape of its leaves…

      Thank you for your kind compliment🙏💖

      Liked by 1 person

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