Like people, plants sometimes get a mixed press. Viewed as a scourge of many a manicured lawn and libelled a ‘weed’, the dandelion is a prime example.
But the genus Taraxacum will be here long after we’ve left nature’s stage; the many names attesting to its tenacity and versatility – ‘Blowball’, ‘Cankerwort’, Witch’s Gowan’, ‘Peasant’s Clock’, ‘Wet-a-bed’, ‘Swine’s Snout’, ‘Monk’s Head’. Its members are generous to us; they nourish, refresh, heal and entrance. Which of us summer’s children do not remember clasping a rubbery stem and puffing mightily to see the plumed seeds detach – airy buccaneers.