Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

May 8, 1921. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 56(31): 2-W.

Forest, Field and Stream

The Lowly Dandelion.

Sandy Griswold.

And now the dandelion, as bright, beautiful and as welcome as it is, especially to all children, and all real flower lovers, in the early springtime, and with all its medicinal and economical qualities, is now in greater disrepute than ever before, as anomalous as that may seem. To be caught with an armful of these lovely golden blossoms today may mean a trip to the hoosgow for the luckless possessor. So much for the preposterous and egregious reformation we are supposed to have undergone.

To be exegetical. The dandelion rears its pretty topaz diadem in our gardens as well as in our fields, on our prided lawns, along the roadside, lanes and byways with equal facility and exuberance. it flourishes in captivity and it flourishes wild. And it makes a dandy wine, and, aye, there's the rub.

So much for good old Taraxacum, the best known flower of all the universe, not excepting the world's favorite rose. Although, like the pestiferous English sparrow and the execrated German carp, it is an immigrant to ur shores, like its objectionable avian and ichthyological congeners it now ravages the whole country and is the most familiar of all our wild flowers.

However, the dandelion is the least evil, if it is an evil at all, of this notorious trio, for its green, jagged, aromatic leaves make one of the most delicious of salads and its juices an astringent unparalleled. It is always a beautiful plant, its flat rosette of leaves even before the blossoms come, being an object of admiration. Stems, leaves and roots alike, exude, if bruised or broken, a bitter, milky, sticky liquid, and it is that that furnishes many of the component parts of the prescriptions given us for daily life.

The dandelion, again, is the favorite of all children, its good qualities outbalancing its bad a thousandfold. It is, I say, beloved by all healthy kiddies, its ripened stem is wrought into a curious whistle and is a dandy implement for blowing bubbles. After ripened in the autumn, its puff ball furnishes happiness for many an idle hour, and the seed is avidly devoured by all the birds.

The dandelion, is therefore, only a pest to the testy gardener, who only too often, finds it impossible to keep the lawn an immaculate carpet of pure emerald, for this indomitable little plant makes the task as insurmountable as it is stupendous. Cut the grass as closely as he may, and root and dig, and tear and pull persistently from early morn until dewy eve, the flowers will greet him as sunnily as ever the next morning. They bud and flourish where unceasingly persecuted, flat upon the earth, with not a single tendril showing above the close cropped grass.

Before the dawn of the Eighteenth Amendment, the dandelion was but mildly anathematized, and bloomed broadcast unmolested. We gloried in its lovely golden posies, and ate with relish its delectable table creations, while our alien brothers of an Etaliyan persuasion, serve it in soups and en casserole, with bacon and paprika his luscious greens." Now it is the "long green" he sees in its multiplex fronds. The reformers have given Podolepis acuminata a new life, a new virtue, a new value. it makes a great thirst allayer with the famous old whiskey kick.

Such are the whimsicalities of life. Where in the olden days the dandelion used to be excavated from field and garden along with other noxious weeds, it is now cajoled, nurtured and caressed by provident housewife and gardener. It has ceased to trouble and to worry. Only gentle hands must touch it, only tender eyes reflect its aureole and rancous voices must not be applied to it. It is like the coming of a Messiah, such has been its transition from bed to bottle. A sip of its nectar, after properly cooked, will make the whole world akin, and make one forget the late Dean Ringer and his cop.s