Dandelion Season

To the dismay of lawn masters, dandelions are popping up around Columbia, about two weeks later than usual. These common wildflowers, also known as weeds, are native to Europe and prefer cool, moist conditions. By mid summer, they will die back, returning again in September, when the intense heat subsides.

Prolific and colorful, dandelions adapt to a wide range of soils but favor sunny locations. Bees and a variety of other insects feed on their nectar while cottontails consume all parts of the plant. Humans have also discovered the culinary benefits of this wildflower, using its leafy foliage for salads and its yellow flowers to make dandelion wine.

Like many species in nature, this plant is welcomed by some and despised by others. Regardless of your point of view, the dandelion is here to stay and one must admire its tenacity. In this competitive world, governed by natural selection, dandelions are among the clear winners.