The Editor’s Desk: All hail the Lion’s Tooth

Never heard of this wonder plant? Once you have, you’ll want to buy it by the dozen (but you can’t)

Ah, the sounds of late spring! Lawnmowers are thrumming, sprinklers are splashing, kids are playing, crickets are chirping, hummingbirds are humming, and chukkars are … chucking. Desert Hills and Horsting’s are bustling with visitors, among them gardeners eager to get growing.

I’m not a gardener, but I recently had occasion to leaf through a catalogue of various plants and garden accessories (if I’m away from home and trying to pass some time I’ll read just about anything that’s handy, up to and including car manuals). As I flipped through the pages of the catalogue I had to chuckle as I came across the phrase “deer-resistant” applied to some of the plants.

I remember mentioning deer-resistant plants to Frank Ritcey, the former WildSafeBC coordinator, during the course of an interview where we touched on urban deer. As soon as I uttered the phrase Frank laughed heartily. “There’s no such thing as ‘deer resistant’ when it comes to plants,” he said frankly (no pun intended). “There are some plants that deer like less than others, but if they’re the only thing available, deer will eat them.”

The catalogue really did make fascinating reading. Every gadget and accessory was described in such a way that made it sound well-nigh indispensable to anyone who was even thinking about gardening, while the plants were all painted in such glowing colours that it seemed all one had to do was pop them in some dirt, stand back, and wait for the cascade of colour or plethora of produce that would immediately occur.

One flower that was conspicuously absent was one of my personal favourites, and one that does very—indeed, amazingly—well here. With nothing better to do than glance at my watch and wonder how much longer I had to wait, I began writing in my head a description of said plant as it might appear in such a catalogue.

“Tired of the winter blahs? Fed up with waiting until the threat of frost is over before filling your beds with colour? Bring an early ray of sunshine to your garden with the cheerful Lion’s Tooth (Taraxacum erythrospermum)! This hardy flower thrives in all soil types, needs little water, and does equally well in full sun, part shade, and full shade, meaning there are no limits to where you can use it!

“Plant them early in the spring to brighten up those barren beds; the Lion’s Tooth blossoms where other flowers fear to tread! The bright-yellow blooms are a magnet for bumblebees, making them a valuable source of pollination, and they close up at night, but open in the first rays of the sun, ready to greet you each morning.

“By the time you’re ready to start your summer planting the Lion’s Tooth’s day is nearly done, but almost every part of the plant is edible. From flower to root, the Lion’s Tooth is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Turn it into tea or wine, eat the greens raw or cooked, and try frying the flowers in batter for delicious fritters! It’s a powerhouse plant if ever there was one, and you’ll be able to enjoy it long after it has faded from your garden!”

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that if the Lion’s Tooth—with its wonderful properties, all of which are 100 per cent true—was described thusly and sold in flats of six at a garden centre they would be flying off the shelves. Alas; Taraxacum erythrospermum is better known as the dandelion, and as such is waged war on by gardeners and homeowners everywhere for having the temerity to grow haphazardly in lawns rather than in orderly rows in a garden.

Ah well; as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple once noted, weeds are just flowers that grow where you don’t want them to. I shall continue to enjoy the mighty Lion’s Tooth for the short time it’s here, admiring its hardiness, tenacity, and the splash of colour it brings to my yard. Just don’t ask me to try dandelion fritters: that’s a step I’m not yet prepared to take.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Young woman from Cariboo Chilcotin victim of highway fatality near Cache Creek

Police said the 23-year-old driver crossed the centre line on Highway 1 near Juniper Beach

LIVE STORY: Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon candidates square off at forum

Join the Journal as we feature live coverage of the Oct. 16 forum at the Ashcroft HUB

“It’s much more personal, much more vicious. There’s a willingness to go low and be dirty.”

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May reflects on an election campaign like no other she’s known

Enjoy a hot meal and help support Sea Cadets on Oct. 17

Interior Savings staff will be serving up a by-donation meal at the Legion on Thursday

Historic 19th century Ashcroft church gets very modern addition

St. Alban’s Church, built in 1891, now boasts a solar array that will meet its electricity needs

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Most Read