Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Each spring, toward the end of April, little yellow flowers pop out of the ground all over. Dandelions are cute, and I've always associated them with the official arrival of spring weather. This also coincides with the peak of my allergy suffering for the year. After all, these life-forms are weeds. Their adorability does not coincide at all with their purpose, which is to mature and spread their fluffy white seed packets through the air.

The yellow flower, made of all these petals, actually closes up at night. I discovered this on wikipedia, since I'd never gone out at night to look for them, but did notice all the little stalks one night along the nearby boulevard known as Ocean Parkway, in Brooklyn.

Interestingly, and oddly, information online says dandelions have been used to make salad, wine, mosquito repellant, and even a diuretic. They contain antioxidants, but there is also caffeic acid, which has said to possibly be carcinogenic; just what a germophobic hypochondriac such as myself wants to hear! So inside the dandelions, there are carcinogens and antioxidants; these plants have it all.

So I guess this hardens the plants to be able to grow anywhere. The garden in front of my house is filled with gritty, dead soil, but they grow there. They even grow out of cracks in sidewalks, and in the polluted grass along Ocean Parkway - millions of them along the side paths from one end to the other. I wouldn’t be surprised if they can even grow out of nuclear waste and survive. In a worldwide catastrophe, I’m sure dandelions will make for a scenic environment for the cockroaches to thrive in – unless they too have allergies.

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