Beautiful spring weather has finally arrived signaling the emergence of the Illinois State Flower: Dandelonicum paininthenecksicus—the Dandelion.
As any history buff can tell you, modern dandelions have been remained virtually unchanged since the earliest versions crawled out of Paleozoic slime and, before the great continental shifts, established themselves in an area which came to be known to modern archaeologists as: My Yard.
Dandelions are virtually indestructible, with a half-life approaching that of uranium-235, McDonalds’ hamburgers, and Mick Jagger. The one treatment that has been moderately effective in halting their spread has been salsa music played at 140 decibels or higher. The only adverse side effect is mortar crumbling out of brick buildings within a half-mile radius of the sounds. Dandelions are unaffected by radiation and have thrived at Chernobyl where they glow beautifully at night. A Russian Big Mac was also discovered in the vicinity, looking as good as the day it was purchased, except for some of the rodent parts inside that, due to the intense level of radiation, had mutated and reconstituted themselves into giant rats that eventually opened a gift shop, selling dandelion wine and Stuckey’s glow-in-the-dark pecan logs to the Pripyat ghost town tourists.
Depictions of dandelions were discovered in prehistoric cave paintings. Neanderthals can be seen clubbing them outside the entrances to their caves. Discovered at a later date, more sinister cave paintings depict Neanderthals being clubbed by large sabre-toothed dandelions, which fortunately, have been extinct for thousands of years. Egyptian archaeologist Zakaria Goneim found tiny mummies at the oldest tomb at Umm el-Qa’ab in Upper Egypt. Under the crumbling gauze bandages he was surprised to find intact and well-preserved dandelions.
Since dandelions will most likely be with us ad infinitum, instead of treating them as weeds, why not be the first in your neighborhood to have a dandelion garden? They’re truly maintenance-free. They don’t need anything! You don’t even have to plant them. Just clear an area in your yard where you’d like to establish the garden, step aside, and in about six hours where you once had a patch of ugly brown dirt or ugly green grass, you now have a beautiful yellow, edible carpet. That’s right! You can eat them. They’re good for your liver. Just make sure your liver doesn’t know ahead of time that you’ll be eating dandelions. When the flowers reach the parachute seed ball stage, the fuzz can be collected and used to stuff pillows, quilted comforters, and pork chops. Or just leave the fuzzy seeds to be picked up by a gentle breeze and deposited around the neighborhood. This is also a good way to make new friends or meet neighbors with clubs.