The Meaning And Symbolism Of Dandelions

You may be someone that curses them every time you find another one in your lawn or garden bed, or someone who tries to raise them from seed in a different climate, admiring their exotic looks. One thing is for sure, dandelions divide opinions straight down the middle.

Love them or hate them, dandelions have been entrenched in world-wide myths and symbolism for hundreds of years, passed on through generations of folklore, odd comments, and remarks which are given no other explanation. 

Not only that, but they also have a lot of applications in both historical and herbal medicine, even today.

Here’s everything you need to know.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About Dandelions

As part of the sunflower plant family, it produces bright composite flower heads which are made up of tiny flowers, and toothed leaves.

The flowers are followed by feathery globes of seed heads, which spread across distances with ease. 

Thanks to their tap root, they also spread through the ground, making it difficult to get rid of any unwanted dandelions, as leaving in part of the root will mean that the plant will just grow back!

The entirety of a dandelion plant, specifically Taraxacum officinale and Taraxacum erythrospermum, the common dandelion and the red seeded-dandelion are completely edible.

They’re extremely nutritious, which might come as a surprise. The whole plant contains high levels of vitamin C, K, E, and A. Not only that, but they also contain plenty of minerals and fiber, too.

Dandelion greens can be eaten raw in salads, added to soups, stews, stir fries, and casseroles.

Dandelion roots can be used as a coffee substitute, tea, and an additive to beer.

And if you want to make dandelion wine, that’s a possibility, too. 

Behind The Name: What Does Dandelion Mean?

The name dandelion is a corrupt translation of the French name for the plant, dent-de-lion, which translates to lion’s tooth, referring to the shape of the leaves, which look like lion’s teeth.

The genus name, Taraxacum, is a combination of the Greek words for disorder and remedy, referring to its historical use.

The Symbolism Behind Dandelions

Similarly to buttercups, children find dandelions fascinating. This has resulted in a lot of symbolism related to nostalgia, including joy, happiness, innocence, and good luck.

As the flowers are so richly pigmented in yellow, they are also believed to represent the sun, and the related symbolism of hope, well wishes, and abundance.

The seed heads signify the moon and its ever-changing shape, and the individual seed heads represent stars, numerous and tiny at a distance.

As a whole, dandelions tend to represent youth, joy, and simple happiness. The seed heads are associated with enjoying nature, the happiness found in simplicity, and feeling free.

As the entire plant is edible and has many herbal applications, the plant also signifies power, health, and abundance.

This plant can be used as a substitute for spinach in cooking, bolstering your health with its great levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

It also helps some ailments, too, in being naturally antioxidant, and having a lot of traditional applications as a diuretic.

This is where the old wives tale comes in, where your parents might have warned you not to pick a dandelion and get the sap on your hands, otherwise you would wet the bed! 

Picking a dandelion doesn’t mean you will wet the bed, as you probably know from your childhood, but it’s a good way of cementing one of its uses into your memory. 

Yellow dandelions can represent the dawn of a new day, chance, and opportunity.

Dandelions are prolific growers which spread easily, taking every opportunity to appear pretty much anywhere, growing in any kind of soil, much to the dismay of many gardeners.

This plant also serves to represent well-wishes, abundance, and hope for the future. For some, dandelions take people back to their childhood, where they would blow on dandelion seed globes to make a wish.

Legends And Myths Surrounding Dandelions

For such a small flower, the dandelion is entrenched in folklore across the world.

Superstitions Surrounding Dandelion Seed Heads

If you use a single breath to blow on a dandelion seed head, the amount of seeds left on the plant is believed to predict how many children you will have in the future.

For some, if you make a wish and manage to blow all the seeds off a dandelion in one breath, this means that your wish will come true, and you’ll have good luck.

For others, blowing every seed off a dandelion in one breath means that someone you love will soon return your feelings. If some seed heads stay on the plant, this love will never be realized.

The superstitions are not all woven into the seed heads, however. 

Folklore Surrounding Dandelion Flowers

It’s believed that including dandelions into a wedding bouquet invites good luck into the lives of the newlyweds, and protects against misfortune.

A child that finds the tallest dandelion in the first few weeks of spring is believed to demonstrate how much they would grow in that year.

What Does A Dandelion Tattoo Mean?

As flower tattoos go, dandelions are an unusual and striking subject, which always look impressive.

Dandelion tattoos aren’t the most common of subjects chosen for tattoos, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with meaning.

The meaning can be universal, as we all have associations with this special plant, too.

Dandelion Clock Tattoo Meaning

The seed head is by far the most popular version, usually depicted with some seed heads drifting away on a gust of wind.

It’s often combined with flying birds, to represent your journey in going after your wildest dreams.

This can also symbolize the passage of time, your hopes for the future, and specific memories which you want to immortalize on your skin.

Sometimes, the image of a dandelion clock is believed to bring good luck.

Dandelion Flower Tattoo Symbolism

When a dandelion flower is chosen as the tattoo subject, they represent hope, perseverance, joy, nostalgia, childhood and love.

The dandelion may also signify someone who has had a great impact on you, or a memory which has left its mark on you as a sign of the future, or your belief that looking for the good things in life means that you find more good than bad.

Part of the joy of the art of tattoos is that they mean something different to each person who has them, and can represent a single thing, or hold a plethora of different meanings, not just the first thing you might associate with these unique flowers.

Final Thoughts

To some people, the dandelion is regarded as nothing more than an invasive weed and a nuisance to be eradicated at the first opportunity.

To others, this wild flower is a source of contentment and nostalgia, reminding them of happy childhood memories or times with their children. It’s a special plant which serves to reconnect us with nature, and the simple pleasures in the world around us.

Whatever your own association, it’s bound to be somewhat profound, as this small, delicate-looking flower provokes the most extreme reactions in people, and that is special in itself.

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