Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
All parts of the humble Dandelion have long been used medicinally in European herbal traditions (‘dandelion’ comes from the medieval French ‘dent de lion’, or ‘teeth of the lion’. It was also known as ‘pis en lit’, or ‘wet the bed!).
Naturalised across the New as well as the Old world, it is now commonly considered to be an invasive and unwanted weed, although children continue to use its bright, cheerful flowers to test their love of butter and young lovers blow the seed-heads to determine the depths of their affections. The bitter greens of Dandelion are still eaten as vegetables by the health conscious and its mildly bitter root is used alongside Chicory as a coffee substitute.