Dandelion. This small, but bright flower can be found everywhere, except in mountainous areas and arctic latitudes. For gardeners, it is a weed, but for ordinary people - an invitation to the summer.
The apparent simplicity of this plant hides some amazing secrets, and its cultural significance is very high, especially in Europe.
Dandelion in English is called «dandelion». The word comes from France, where in 1066 William the Conqueror at the time the plant was called «dent de lion», which, translated from French means "lion's tooth." Many people confuse the word "mane" and "tooth" and mistakenly believed that the plant got its name because of the yellow flower.
In fact, the reason for this name - dandelion leaves with large teeth that reminded people of the medieval lions teeth. This name prevails in the European territory - from Italy, Portugal and Spain to Norway.
But it is also found in France and less than flattering name. Some call this flower «pissenlit», which means "urinate in bed." The reason is that the dandelion is considered a diuretic.
Indicator of our contradictory relationship to this flower can serve and the fact that the north-east of Italy it is called «pisacan», which reminds us of the dog, bridge and urine. However, very little is enough to drive in a northerly direction - and there he charmingly referred to as «soffione», which means "breath."
The latter name is clearly reminiscent of the pleasure that can be tested, with the blowing dandelion seeds. Thus, the etymological roots of the dandelion in the European languages â€‹â€‹reflect its dual nature.
The Germans and Poles are known for their pronounced linguistic romanticism, the name means the same thing. German «Pusteblume» charmingly hints at the essence of a flower, carrying, onomatopoeic element: it is easy to imagine a man blowing off the seeds, and pronouncing the sounds: "PUU", as in the beginning of the word.
Polish language divides the life of a dandelion in two stages. The first stage, "floral" in Polish is called «mlecz». It means "milk" and recalls the juice, remaining on the fingers if you break the stem. Later, when there are seeds of a flower called «dmuchawiec» - another reference to the blowing seed.
Finns call the dandelion "flower oil," perhaps because of its yellow color, and perhaps - because of its predominance in the meadows, where cows graze. The Norwegians say it's "a rose for worms," â€‹â€‹which once again demonstrates the dual relationship of humanity to the plant. Attractive appearance - and the low status. Like: it can, and rose, but only for the worms.
Dandelion in botany - a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Asteraceae (Asteraceae). Generic name is Latin. Taraxácum comes from the Arabic romanization (tharakhchakon) or Persian (talkh chakok) the names of other Compositae.
The first dandelions little secret is that most of them - clones. In other words, their reproduction is bespolovym or vegetative means. This process is called "apomixis." The seed grows directly from the egg, which do not fertilized.
Thus, each successive generation of dandelions is always identical to the previous one. The reason is that many species of dandelions - triploids, if you operate terms of genetics. This means that they have an odd number of chromosomes. This usually means that the plant can not produce offspring. However, due to apomixis, dandelions reproduce.
Diploids, which breed pollination, for the most part are grown in southern Asia and Europe. Scientists are still arguing about a lot of dandelions, and the reasons for this north-south distribution of diploids and triploids. There is a theory that triploids have changed during the last glacial period, when the process is very complicated pollination.
Unlike the rest of dandelion weeds is in the process of seed dispersal, which gave more joy to our ancestors. Children who did not blew dandelion umbrellas, just did not have children. In our 21st century parents should encourage such activities so that children know better than the natural world and broadened horizons.
When a seed falls to the ground, it forms a taproot. From there he leaves. Do they look like a dandelion rosette of leaves over the roots. Another mystery of dandelions is that each of the sockets can simultaneously grow a few stalks (which later will be the flowers). Thus, one dandelion seed can produce a few copies of the absolute itself at a time.
Each seed in the beautiful white ball of dandelion is called "achenes." Each is equipped with a "tufted" - is essentially the "wings", similar to the delicate hairs. When the wind blows, seeds scatter over large distances. No wonder that experienced gardeners abused children for what they are blowing on dandelions with joyful ease.
Dandelion root, accumulating in the autumn to 40% inulin, known as a cholagogue, strengthens and revitalizes the liver. Tincture of dandelion root stimulates the appetite, has antispasmodic, and laxative properties krovoochistitelnym.
Also, the dandelion has long been used as food by various peoples, it was used as the ancient Chinese, and the first settlers in the Americas. Its young leaves are almost devoid of bitterness, and therefore are often used in salads and borscht, roasted roots can serve as a substitute for coffee, from the flowers of the dandelion jam and make wine from the open flower buds are preparing "dandelion honey."