GROWING AND SAVING SEED OF DANDELION
Latin name Taraxacum is a cold-hardy perennial wildflower of Eurasia. There are several species within the taraxacum genus, including T. albidum (Japanese white dandelion) and T. pseudoroseum (pink dandelion).
Native to Eurasia, but can be found naturalized on every continent except Antarctica. The dandelion has been a part of the human diet for thousands of years and was listed in ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine texts from over a thousand years ago for its detoxifying and diuretic properties.
- Edible flower, root, and greens. Beds, borders, containers.
- Visited by bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
- Seeds germinate in 7-21 days.
- Start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date, or direct sow (preferable) seeds after last chance of frost has passed.
- Surface sow and cover with a thin layer of starting mix (seeds require light in order to germinate). Sow 1 inch apart in rows.
- Ideal germination temperature is 60-75 F.
- If starting indoors, carefully transplant due to long taproot.
- Thin plants to 4-6 inches apart.
- Plants can handle a wide range of soil conditions, though they prefer full to part sun.
- Keep young plants well-watered until established; mature plants are quite drought tolerant.
- Greens are edible as are the taproot and flowers.
- Typically quite pest-free.
- Provide good air circulation and keep foliage dry to prevent mold and fungal issues.
- Dandelion has small little tufts called pappuses.
- When the full seedhead is present, before the wind can whisk it away or animal traffic breaks it apart, the entire seedhead can be pulled or clipped from the plant and placed in a container for drying.
- To remove the pappuses from the seeds, simply rub them on a screen. The tiny seed will fall through and the pappuses ball up and are caught on the surface of the screen.
- Chaff and other debris can be further separated, if desired, by careful screening and winnowing. It does not take much of an air current to separate the chaff from these very tiny seeds and so gently blowing on the surface of the seeds in a container will usually be enough to separate, then stir and shake the seeds and repeat the process until there is no longer chaff or debris.