Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Other Common Names: common dandelion
USDA Hardiness: Seems to be differences of opinion; we've seen citings for as low as zone 3
Useful Properties: medicinal, livestock forage,dynamic accumulator, pollinator attractor, soil decompactor
Judge: Mr Prosecutor, please state your case.
Prosecutor: Well, your honor, it's really very simple. Mr Dandelion is accused of unwantedly violating the sanctity of lawns across the country. No matter where you look he invades our neatly-trimmed bermuda and fescue, and the people will not have it anymore!
Judge: And Mr. Dandelion, how do you plead?
Defendant: Not guilty you honor. These accusations are preposterous! In fact, I am innocent by reason of insanity -- the prosecutor's insanity!
Prosecutor: Well, that's a new one.
Judge: Mr Prosecutor, please present your evidence to the court.
Prosecutor: Do I actually have to? Anyway, here is a map of Mr Dandelion's distribution. As you can see, he has attacked lawn across the United States. Additionally, as you can see in these photographs of my lawn, there is very clearly a yellow flower. Mr Dandelion is once again trespassing! And, here, in my neighbor's yard.....
Defendant: Your honor, if I may interrupt, I am willing to admit to my ubiquiousness in order to speed this along.
Judge: Very well then, Mr Prosecutor, do you have any other evidence to present?
Prosecutor: Well....no, I guess I don't.
Judge: So your case against Mr. Dandelion is essentially based on the fact that you don't like him messing up the monoculture of your lawn? Never mind, don't answer that. Mr Dandelion, you may now proceed with your defense.
Defendant: Thank you sir. I'd like to refute the prosecution by highlighting the value I bring to the community.
- I am edible. Leaves make excellent salad greens and don't even get me started on my flowers when they're battered and fried. I am very high in vitamins just like other dark leafy greens.
- And it's not just people that can eat me, most livestock love me too! Just try offering one of my tasty leaves to a chicken!
- My roots are commonly used medicinally -- very traditional as a spring tonic for liver and kidney cleansing. And I have diuretic properties as well!
- I help out my neighboring plants, too That's right, I mine nutrients from deep in the soil with my tap root and then make them available to other plants. I'm really quite generous like that, you know?
- Thirdly, I'd like to cite my attractive nature. To beneficial insects that is. Look at my flowers and you'll often find bees, butterflies, moths, and beetles that depend on me.
- I do my best to help out the soil, especially via my action as a decompactor. I do my best to find sites where other plants don't want to grow, break up the soil, and make those spaces livable once again.
- Finally, I'd like to cite how generally agreeable I am. I am soft to step on, don't grow excessively high (unless you're looking to mimic an overgrazed pasture), and provide happy yellow blossoms for aesthetic appeal.
So you see your honor, I think this is clearly a case of malicious prosecution. Yes, I am widespread, but in that, I think you are lucky. I am so helpful to the community that I should be welcomed everywhere I go!
Judge: Thank you Mr Dandelion, for that well-thought and articulate defence. Now, to the jury, in cases such as this, the court requests that you be impartial in your decision-making. I however, take a more Draconian approach and just want to know whether the prosecutor should be tarred and feathered on the way out?
<to be continued>
Note: All material is educational and not intended to be medical advice or indicate treatment for any specific disease or condition.