enlightenment, flowers, history, humor, language, photography

Lion’s Tooth

I like the scattered violets that appeared in my lawn some years ago.  In the spring I let the grass get high before I mow, so that the violets will have a good chance to set seed.  The delay also gives the dandelions a good chance to set seed.  Fine.


Would the dandelion have a better rep if we had translated (rather than anglicized) the Old French name?  Not likely.  Every flower is the same bright yellow, so there is no variation for plant breeders to coax toward white or red and then offer “Snow Ball Lion’s Tooth” or “Fire Ball Lion’s Tooth” in seed catalogs.  Any klutz can grow dandelions, so they give gardeners no bragging rights.

Nowadays the French have a derogatory-sounding name for dandelions.  Were the royal gardeners frustrated by the plant’s defiance of the oppressive formality of the plantings at Versailles?  The Germans have kept the good old phrase “lion’s tooth” (in their own language, of course), as have the Italians and the Spanish.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

When many people see a dandelion, they see a weed.  I don’t.  I see Löwenzahn, the Wagnerian Heldenblume that thrusts green and gold into the grayest and grimmest of our cityscapes.  I see Dent de Lion, the Enlightenment philosophe whose call for liberty and rationality rides the wind.


I do pull weeds; I do not pull dandelions.

Flower of the Day – July 20, 2018 – Dandelion

– Gray button (upper left corner) reveals widgets, –
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –

9 thoughts on “Lion’s Tooth

  1. I love dandelions! I let them grow in the backyard grass. Every summer we get a wild bunny eating his way through the grass. He’s never eaten my vegetable garden! Only the Loewenzahn and the Alstroemeria. I weed as well, but leave some of them because aphids and other undesirable insects like those weeds. That keeps them of plants and flowers that matter to me. I think nature is pretty smart! Love your violets in the grass! I have forget-me-nots that carpet a huge area in the spring and reseed.
    Nice post! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The health benefits of dandelion include relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer and anemia. It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and is a benefit to weight loss programs.
    These greens also contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese. Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
    …and the best we can do is identify them as a weed?…

    When something is pleasing to the eye, yet receives little recognition, I question one’s ability to open the mind and envision all the potential that exists. This post might help some view nature from a new perspective.


    1. Thanks for bringing up the nutritional benefits. Dandelions suffer from the flip side of our tendency to value rare things w/o intrinsic worth. We devalue common things of great worth.


  3. Yes, dandelions are lovely weeds! I eat them in salads, feed them to my rabbits, and write poetry about them. I love how my poem spurred discussions among open-minded people who love to speak civilly without resorting to name calling. 🙂 Lol.

    Thanks for the shout-out, dear Mel. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hooray for you! I also like dandelions. My favorite kinds of lawns are the ones that have been let grow a little and have dandelions, daisies and buttercups all over the place. I’m guessing many gardeners might see these flowers as weeds, but I love them all. They remind me of my childhood and of lying back in the long grass on summer days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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