The Precious Legend of the Dandelion

Have you ever made a wish by blowing on a dandelion? This medicinal plant contains in its leaves, seeds, and roots a wonderful legend that's more than a century old. Read about it here.
The Precious Legend of the Dandelion
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 18 December, 2022

Dandelions are small and extremely common yellow wildflowers. Some people hate them as they see them as weeds that spoil the look of their gardens. They probably don’t realize that their roots provide the soil with good amounts of nitrogen and minerals. In addition, these flowers are also appreciated for their many medicinal purposes.

In fact, we shouldn’t forget that Arab doctors in the tenth and eleventh centuries used dandelion to develop multiple remedies. They were used for fever, toothache, urinary problems, anemia, constipation, arthritis, diabetes, gallbladder problems, heartburn, and skin irritations.

However, it’s not so well known that taraxacum officinale is one of the most magical elements in nature. Indeed, an entire anthropology of the mystical and spiritual is built around this simple and common plant. It fascinates and bewitches, both by the clever way in which it transforms itself and due to the legend that’s been built around it.

The dandelion plant is made up of many individual miniature flowers called ray florets, which open at dawn and close at night. This has given them a unique appeal to many cultures.

Woman blowing to fulfill the legend of the dandelion
The shape of the leaves of this plant resembles a lion’s tooth (dents de lion), hence its name.

The legend of the dandelion and the angel

The legend of the dandelion was first written down in 1918 in the book, For the Children’s Hour. It consisted of a set of fables that were published weekly in many newspapers from 1908 onwards. Later, the publication ended up becoming a volume of tales and legends. It was quite successful in the world of children’s and young people’s literature.

The title, For the Children’s Hour, was inspired by a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow entitled The Children’s Hour. In this poem, he explained that the moment when day meets sunset is the perfect time to invent and give way to fantasy, games, and imagination. In fact, he claimed that this space of time is made for childhood. It’s in this context that the legend of the dandelion arose.

The angel of the flowers

The fable tells that the angel of the flowers came down to earth one day to find the flower that she loved the most. She searched far and wide, through field and forest and garden.

First, she came across a tulip. She asked it where it’d most like to live. The tulip replied that it’d like to live on a velvety castle lawn where its colors would show up against the grey walls. It also said it’d like the princess to touch it and tell it how beautiful it was. Then, the angel spoke to the rose. She asked it the same question. The rose said that as it was fragile and delicate, it’d like to climb the castle walls which would shelter it from harm.

Next, the angel went to the forest and she came across the violet. Once again, she asked it the question of where it’d like to live. The violet replied that it’d prefer the shelter of the woods with the brook nearby to cool its roots and the trees to stop the sun from spoiling its beautiful color.

According to legend, among the kingdom of flowers, the dandelion is the most humble and simple.

The angel was captivated by a dandelion

Later, the angel discovered a dandelion growing between two rocks. When she asked it the same question, it said that it’d like to live wherever children would see it. It wanted to live by the roadsides and in the meadows and even between the cracks in the city pavements so that it’d make everyone happy with its bright color.

The angel chose the dandelion as her favorite flower. Moreover, she allowed it to flower right through from spring until fall in all kinds of places, just as it wished.

image to represent the legend of the dandelion
We all learn as children that when you blow on a dandelion, you have to make a wish.

The dandelion, the flower that fulfills children’s wishes

The dandelion is also seen as symbolizing the sun, the moon, and the stars. Indeed, this fascinating plant is born as a ball of yellow fibers, similar to the sun that gives us life. Later, it takes on a round, fluffy, silvery shape, like the moon on summer nights. Then, to spread its seeds, it separates and travels over great distances. The seeds are like tiny shooting stars carried by the wind. Every time children blow on their seeds, it’s said that one of their wishes will come true. In fact, we’ve all grown up blowing on this plant, believing that our dreams will be fulfilled.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bayley, Carolyn (1908) For the Children’s Hour. New York (Yesterday’s Classics) 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.