141,900 reasons to praise dandelions!

Dandelions are composite flowers -every yellow strand that looks like a petal is actually an individual flower – and there are 300 atop each flower stalk. Before lunch today I counted the fully open dandelions in the garden and at a conservative count made it at least 473. Multiplied by 300 that makes 141,900 tiny flowers. 141,900 opportunities for bees and other insects to feed.

bumble bee on dandelion flower

Bee expert Dave Goulson says that:

“A queen [bee] may use her own weight in sugar each day to incubate her brood, which may necessitate visiting up to 6000 flowers. If these flowers are too few and far between she will be away from the nest for much of the day, her brood will cool and as a result develop too slowly, and she will wear herself out in her frantic search for food. Hence the proximity of lots of nectar-rich spring flowers is probably vital.” Goulson 2013

At 6000 flowers per queen bumble bee per day today’s dandelions feed 23 bees and have many times more flowers than the other plants and bushes I was also counting today (of which more another time).

I have been praising dandelions for years, but now there are more reasons than ever to do so!

Forest gardening principle: plant polyfloral polycultures everywhere.

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Flowers, Forest Gardening, polyfloral, Relationship with nature. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 141,900 reasons to praise dandelions!

  1. Carole says:

    And we’ve been eating the leaves! Soak in salt water for an hour or two, boil for a minute or two, dress with olive oil or butter. Slight initial bitterness that quickly fades. Surprisingly good, and less bitter than chicory. Best young and fresh, and taking only a few from each plant so that Mrs Bumble Bee still gets the plant’s attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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