The ‘lion’s tooth’ (referring to the shape of its leaves) is described by the Collins Gem Guide – Wild Flowers as ‘the all too common weed of lawns and waste places’. They don’t fare much better in The Oxford Book of Wild Flowers – they ‘have long tap roots which are difficult to dig out from lawns and flower-beds, where they are tiresome weeds.’ The much maligned Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a tenacious wild flower that has thrived on roadsides where other native plants have perished (it is slightly salt-tolerant). Like all native flowers, the Dent de lion has many benefits for wildlife. Their flowers are rich in nectar and pollen; their leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of the white ermine moth and finches love their seeds.
So the next time you see a Dandelion in your lawn, instead of being reminded of the ravening monster of weed killer adverts, think of the flowers that bring sunshine to a murky spring day or the seed heads that are truly one of nature’s engineering masterpieces.