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BTD Forums  /  The GenoType Diet  /  Dandelions and "Dandelions"
Posted by: Carol the Dabbler, Thursday, February 28, 2008, 11:13pm

The name Dandelion is used for two similar-looking (and somewhat related) greens.

The dandelion greens that you can pick for free in your own yard (assuming it hasn't been ChemLawned) are Taraxacum officinale. The greens may also be sold as "French dandelion."  I assume this is the species referred to by the GTD lists.

Another species often sold as "dandelion greens" (or as "Italian dandelion" or cicoria) is Chicorium intybus -- in other words, it's a species of chicory, and I assume it would be rated under that name in the GTD lists.

Can anyone give tips on telling them apart at the market?  I have the vague impression that Italian dandelion's leaves tend to be less jagged than the regular kind.  (In fact, the sharply-pointed lobes of the true dandelion's leaves are said to be the reason for its name, meaning "lion's tooth.")  But I won't swear that this distinction is infallible.

Hmmm, I just checked the US Dep't of Agriculture web site (http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CIIN), and it turns out that "Italian dandelion" is the exact same species as the familiar blue-flowered roadside weed generally known as simply chicory.  It's a common wild plant in all 48 of the contiguous United States, as well as in the southern tier of Canadian provinces.  So, alas, sticking with dandelions harvested from your lawn is no guarantee of which species you'll get.  It's obvious once they bloom (the true dandelion's flowers are yellow, and the plant does not grow a tall stalk when it blooms, as chicory does), but by then the leaves are too bitter to eat.

??)

Of course, you could always buy seed for improved varieties of T. officinale (yes, they really do sell dandelion seed), and grow the greens in your garden.  It seems like growing your own is one answer to an awful lot of questions.

Posted by: 2330 (Guest), Friday, February 29, 2008, 12:43am; Reply: 1
Quoted Text
Of course, you could always buy seed for improved varieties of T. officinale (yes, they really do sell dandelion seed), and grow the greens in your garden.  It seems like growing your own is one answer to an awful lot of questions.


Boy, oh, boy, when Dr. D. said, "Do the work!" he certainly wasn't kidding!!!!! This is the hardest way of trying to eat I have ever encountered in my life for it to be so simple. Maybe he thinks we are just making it UNsimple. Well, I don't know whether he has actually gone through a detox or not, but I know he hasn't after going without one for sixty-five years. It does things to people! You get scared out of your wits that you are going to do something wrong and get worse! Heaven forbid! Many foods have suddenly become Enemy Number One!!! Old friends have become suspect overnight. And where do we turn ---- to the Web, of course, and this board -- feeble though we are in this maelstrom.

Take, for instance, the lowly currant, how many ways can a person go wrong trying to buy the things?????  And how were most of us to know what under the sun a white bean was - not a white northern or any other white bean we'd ever heard of before, but a white bean. ::) And dandelions?!!!! Maybe we need to get a degree in something, but what? (book2)   ??)  (book2)
Posted by: Lloyd, Friday, February 29, 2008, 1:21am; Reply: 2
I think if you were to look at the pictures of both types of plant side by side, the difference should be fairly obvious and unmistakable. Better to see them side by side, live. While they can be confused, they are quite different once you get them 'fixed' in your mind.

Kind of like my grocery checkout clerks who always have to ask whether it's kale, turnip or mustard greens in my bag even though they are all quite different. Or the difference between parsley and cilantro. Maybe confusing at first, but obvious once you get to know the product.
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Friday, February 29, 2008, 2:25am; Reply: 3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandelion

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/subcategory.aspx?category=1&subcategory=538

I guess I have been buying chicory instead of dandelion.. The label in the market says Dandelion.. but it looks like it might be chicory.
  
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Friday, February 29, 2008, 2:38am; Reply: 4
http://www.littlebearproduce.com/GreensDandelion.htm

Here is what I buy.. What are these? Are they mismarked or truly Dandelions?
Posted by: OSuzanna, Friday, February 29, 2008, 3:39am; Reply: 5
Dottie1, they look like regular yellow dandelion leaves to me, IMO.
Posted by: Lloyd, Friday, February 29, 2008, 3:59am; Reply: 6
Some nice 'italian dandelion' photos. Mainly the flowers, hard to see the leaves. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/175644/

Bottom right on this webpage is italian dandelion that looks nothing like dandelion: http://www.nickys-nursery.co.uk/seeds/pages/veg4A.htm
Posted by: Lola, Friday, February 29, 2008, 4:07am; Reply: 7
arrugula is also quite similar to these......
Posted by: italybound, Friday, February 29, 2008, 6:59pm; Reply: 8
Quoted from Lloyd
Some nice 'italian dandelion' photos. Mainly the flowers, hard to see the leaves. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/175644/


Hmmm, I was told those are blue flax.  :-/
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=blue+flax&btnG=Google+Search

I'm going to have to take a much better look at the flower this summer. I think what I'm seeing looks more like what Lloyd posted. Interesting............
Posted by: Carol the Dabbler, Friday, February 29, 2008, 10:31pm; Reply: 9

Quoted from Lloyd
I think if you were to look at the pictures of both types of plant side by side, the difference should be fairly obvious and unmistakable. Better to see them side by side, live. While they can be confused, they are quite different once you get them 'fixed' in your mind.

Kind of like my grocery checkout clerks who always have to ask whether it's kale, turnip or mustard greens in my bag even though they are all quite different. Or the difference between parsley and cilantro. Maybe confusing at first, but obvious once you get to know the product.


You have a good point, Lloyd.  But dandelion greens and "Italian dandelion" greens look a lot alike in photos.  Just when I think I'm starting to see the difference, I find a photo of one that looks the way I thought the other one looked.

I suspect that if one could see the two plants actually growing side by side, or even see the clearly-labelled greens side by side in the store, the difference would be discernable, and learnable.

When Hubby and I lived in Southern California, we were continually impressed by the huge fields of FOOD!  We were used to corn and soybeans (or, for a change of pace, soybeans and corn).  When a dog-loving friend from Pennsylvania came to visit, I kept showing her, "Oh, look, there's a whole field of lettuce!  There's a field of artichokes!  There's a field of beets!"  Finally, she said, "How do you know they're beets?"  And I said, "How do you know that a dog is a Great Dane?"  She said, "Oh."

Sort of like your super-market clerks.  (And yes, they have that kind here, too.)

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