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Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), fam. Asteraceae.
   One of the most abundant and robust weeds. Very numerous in the city, but in forest it mostly concentrates in the places often visited by people. There are data that explain this behavior with the dandelion's endurance to trodden soil, whereas in the natural and friable soil it cannot withstand competition with other plants.
   Dandelion flowers almost all the year, excluding the snowy time, but the peak is in the end of April. All the parts of the plant are edible, though containing bitterish latex. Dandelion is related to lettuce, and has similar composition. It contains complete protein and fat, vitamins (especially B1, B2, B6, E, K, and folic acid), mierals (calcium, iron, zinc).
   Some people recommend to remove the bitter by boiling, soaking, salting etc.; although, from personal experience, it is superfluous: this bitterness is much weaker than that of onion, but we do not soak onions.
   A large problem for those wanting to taste dandelions is to find a place which is ecologically clean enough, because these plants tend to avoid the places of that kind. One solution is the abandoned tracks deep in the forest, and the lake shores (especially the Rybne Lake).

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