Dandelion’s Place in History
World History and the Dandelion
Once respected around the world for its nutritional value and medicinal properties, today, the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is seen by many as a noxious weed. Why? We have the rise of “lawn culture” to thank whose origin stems back to 17th century England where lawns were a status of wealth. Before this landscaping trend took root in the U.S., we might have seen dandelion varieties in seed catalogs and homegrown samples entered in the county fair during the 1800s.
But here we are 200 years later, and this delightful and tenacious little flower has been hexed by many as undesirable. And to add insult to injury, the cost of herbicides spent each year to kill this gift from nature is in the millions, impacting far more than just the dandelion.
Learning about history through the lens of the common dandelion can help us understand how our culture has gone from loving to hating (and hopefully back to loving) this flowering herbaceous perennial plant. This approach to history might tap into established or budding interests in nutrition, medicine, culinary arts, agriculture, social studies, ecology, and even mythology. Start your history lesson with this short video “Dandelions and Civilization: A Forgotten History” by The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered.
Photo credit: (cc) Aivaras Čiurlionis.
Naturalized Species: Dandelion
- SUPPORTED INTERESTS: History. Social Studies. Ecology. Agriculture. Medicine. Culinary Arts. Nutrition. Mythology.
- CBEdu RESOURCES: Naturalized Species. Lawns. Fields. Meadows.
- SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Video viewing.