Asteraceae / Aster
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Lore: Dandelion was intentionally introduced to this country by early settlers because of its value as a tonic. Long winters without fresh vegetables often resulted in malnutrition and the vitamins derived from consuming Dandelions restored the health of suffers in the new world as well as the old. The root could be found even in winter and the juice extracted and given as a tonic. The young leaves picked before the flower forms make a healthful and delicious green. The tinder crown found below the ground can be eaten in salads or cooked. The roots can be peeled, sliced and boiled in two waters to remove the bitterness and eaten. The root can be roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers can be used to make Dandelion Wine. In addition to food and medicine the plant also provides dye in two colors, yellow from the flowers and red from the root. If you decide to try a dish of Dandelions be sure that you don't collect any from a lawn that may have been treated with herbicides.
Uses: As the scientific name implies this plant was considered an 'Official' remedy. It was, and is, an effective
treatment for conditions due to a deficiency in vitamins A and C. It is thought to be a diuretic and mild laxative. Those
allergic to latex should avoid contact.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves