Rix Quinn’s Minute Story: Dandelions


I got a letter asking me this: “Dandelions will grow in my yard, even if I spray weed killer on them, or cut them up. But I have never, ever been able to raise a dandelion in a pot! Why is this?”

My first thought was, “Why did somebody ask me? I know only three things about flowers…they’re pretty, brides carry them at weddings, and my wife likes to receive them almost anytime. (Note to self: Think about buying wife flowers. Look for some on sale.)

But I do like dandelions, and I consider myself a wildflower who also thrives in moderate climates, flies frequently from place to place, and may sometimes be viewed as a pest.

Did you know the first dandelions came to America with the colonists? Some said its leaves could be used in salad, and wine could be made from its flowers.

The dandelion also produces its own fertile seeds, so it does not require birds or bees for pollination. (That ends the only birds-and-bees lecture you’ll see in this column.)

Perhaps the secret of the flower’s growth is long roots (up to three feet), which might explain its inability to grow in a flowerpot while flourishing in a back yard.

I also flourish in the back yard. I love the cooling breeze, the warm sunshine, and the gentle cursing of joggers as they try to sidestep cars during rush hour.

Please ask Rix anything…the weirder, the better. E-mail your questions to rix@rixquinn.com.

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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.