ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Dandelion - a common edible plant to go foraging or wildcrafting for

Updated on August 10, 2016

Dandelions are good to eat

You are sure to know what a Dandelion looks like but did you know that the plant is good to eat? Yes, this very widely distributed wild flower makes an excellent salad ingredient, as well as being a good base for making a home-made wine from. Its roots can even be roasted and ground to make coffee.

Dandelions are found in many places all around the world so are easy to get hold of too when out foraging. And the Dandelion is a food that is free.


Dandelion flowers. Photo by Steve Andrews
Dandelion flowers. Photo by Steve Andrews

Description of the Dandelion

I doubt if the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) really needs a description because this common wild flower is so well known. A member of the Compositae or Asteraceae as the family is now known, it is a cosmopolitan plant found growing in fields, lawns and grassy places, as well as on rough ground and even in cracks in paving. It s a very popular plant for people who enjoy wildcrafting.

The Dandelion is easily recognised with its bright yellow flowers made up of many fine petals carried on stalks up to 1 ft in height, jagged leaves that grow in rosettes and 'clocks' after flowering. These 'clocks' are known to many children who delight in blowing them and watching the 'fairies' blow away in the breeze. It is a perennial herb and has long tap-roots. The whole plant gives out a white milky juice if broken.

The Dandelion flowers all year round, though most often in spring and early summer. Because it can be found in every season makes it a really useful plant for the forager.

Markus Rothkranz - How much wild food can you eat ?

The Dandelion's uses

The whole Dandelion plant can be eaten and raw foodist Markus Rothkranz describes it as a "Super food." He is right because Dandelions contain vitamins A and C, as well as the minerals iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

The leaves, stalks and flowers can be eaten in salads. The Japanese use Dandelion root as a vegetable which they cook Nituke-style.

The scrubbed roots are cut into rings and sautéed in vegetable oil. A small quantity of water is added, a pinch of salt, and then the pan is covered. The Dandelion roots are stewed lightly until most of the liquid has gone and then a dash of soy sauce is added before they are served.

In the Oriental Macrobiotic dieting philosophy it is believed that the Dandelion is very Yang. This makes it a very useful herb in the modern world where it is believed that far too many Yin foods and drinks are consumed.

Dandelion roots can be harvested in autumn when they are scrubbed clean then dried and roasted in an oven until they go brittle. At this stage the Dandelion roots are ground up and can be used as substitute for ordinary coffee. They have no caffeine in them so make a much healthier beverage. Dandelion coffee is a healthy drink.

Dandelion flowers can be collected and used as the base to make a potent home-made wine. Dried they can be used as a herbal tea.

In herbal medicine the Dandelion is used for its diuretic properties. Taken internally it is used as a remedy for urinary infections and diseases of the liver and gall-bladder. It is also thought to be a good treatment for gout and rheumatism, and is a tonic for the digestion and appetite.

Dandelions can be cultivated and blanched by heaping earth around the lower parts of the leaves.

Dandelion clock

Dandelion clock. Photo by Steve Andrews
Dandelion clock. Photo by Steve Andrews

Other names for the Dandelion

The Dandelion has a multitude of alternative names. Here are a selection of other names the plant is known by:

Burning Fire, Clocks, Clock Flower, Clocks and Watches, Combs and Hairpins, Conquer More, Devil's Milk-plant, Dog Posy, Fairy Clocks, Farmer's Clocks, Golden Suns, Horse Gowan, Irish Daisy, Lay A-Bed, Lion's Teeth, Male, Mess-A-Bed, Pishamoolag, Pissimire, Pittle Bed, Priest's Crown, Schoolboy's Clock, Shepherd's Clock, Stink Davine, Tell-Time, Time Flower, Twelve O'Clock, Wet-weed and Wishes.

Some of these names make reference to its strong diuretic properties. The common name Dandelion is derived from the French "Dents de lion" (Lion's tooth).

Dandelion recipes

Richard Mabey gives two Dandelion recipes in his classic book Food For Free.

Salad Dandelions

Collect sufficient Dandelion leaves, wash well and trim off any excess stalk. Chop the leaves and dress with olive oil, lemon juice and a trace of garlic. Serve in sandwiches with a dash of Worcester Sauce.

Pissenlit au Lard

This French dish consists of small pieces of crispy fried bacon served hot on a bed of raw Dandelion salad and dressed with vinegar, bacon fat and seasoning. Throw in a few flower-heads to add colour.

There is a lot more about how to prepare Dandelions for eating in salad here.

Time lapse Dandelion flower to seed head

The Dandelion label

Back at the tale-end of the psychedelic sixties the late great John Peel had his own record label called Dandelion. It epitomised the days of "Flower Power" and had several acts that Peel had featured on his BBC Radio One show Top Gear.

One of these was the singer-songwriter Bridget St John who had two albums on Dandelion, and the band Medicine Head also got their start on the label before going on to become a hit-making act. The Dandelion label was not about commercialism though, it was about artistic creativity and the Dandelion flower was a symbol for this. The Dandelion, after all, has seeds that fly where the winds carry them!

Bridget St. John - Ask Me No Questions [Ask Me No Questions] 1969


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Green Bard profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thanks for posting!

    • His princesz profile image

      His princesz 

      7 years ago

      I never knew that! Thanks for all that information, i love dandelions! :)

    • Green Bard profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you for commenting, Glimmer Twin Fan and Teacher stories! Crab Grass seeds can be used to make porridge I believe though can't say I have any experience of this.

    • teacher stories profile image

      teacher stories 

      7 years ago from San Diego

      I'm going to have to try this one since I've got about a million of them in my yard. Got any receipes for crab grass?

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      7 years ago

      Another great nature hub! So interesting. Loved the alternate names for dandelions. I had never heard them before.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)