Category Archives: Dandelions

The Dandelion Cycle Tyre: Cycling on Dandelions!

At last, it’s a reality!! Since I heard that Continental were testing the world’s first car tyre with Taraxagum two years ago, I’ve included a picture of the tyre in my talks! I typically tell how dandelions are one of the most important plants on the planet and that you can make a multi-course dinner of different products of the plant (see my book for details) from root crop, salad, dandinoodles to dandichokes, dandelion wine, coffee, tea etc. etc. and I end up by saying that soon you’ll even be able to cycle home on tyres made of dandelion rubber!! I’ll use this picture from now on!!
In the link, it’s mentioned that Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute and University of Münster have helped Continental with the development of the tyre. I was approached by researchers at the university offering me EUR40 for my dandelion seed (that they’d found offered on my Garden Web Internet seed trade list) and, later, asking me to produce as much seed as possible of the rubber dandelion Taraxacum kok-saghyz (more of this story, which has a twist at the end, is told in my book).

The email offering me cash for dandelions can be read here:

(20th April 2005 from a scientist at the University of Münster). I’d asked for other species of dandelion in return as a trade.

“Thanks Stephe for your early reply.

Sorry, we are just at the beginning of our work and therefore we could offer you just some seeds of Taraxacum officinale, but non of the others.
So, what should be the price for the seeds and the postage, around 40€?

list of seeds:
Taraxacum faeroense (02) ;
Taraxacum kok-saghyz (03; 02; 01)6;Rubber Dandelion Taraxacum mongolicum (03; 01 ); Taraxacum officinale (02; 00 ) ;Pissenlit (French cultivated Dandelion) OUT Taraxacum pamiricum (03); Taraxacum sect. erythrosperma (03; 02) ; Taraxacum vulgare album (02) ;

Please let me know to which address we should send the money. Please send the seeds in a safe envelope and it would be nice to have them as early as possible. You can be sure that you will get the money!”

Dandelions for bees, beetles and birds

Before my D.A. (Dandelion Awakening) I would religiously remove and cut down as many dandelions as I could, but nowadays my garden perennial beds are full of them. As I’ve written before, dandelions have become probably my most important vegetable in the winter months. I dig up the roots from my garden beds, where I’ve deliberately let them grow, in the autumn, store in my cellar and force them as I need them in cooler rooms in the house. These wild dandelions grow themselves, the only energy I use on them is in the digging and moving to store! A perfect vegetable! There are 11 pages in my book Around the World in 80 plants about the multitude of food uses for dandelions and how you can make a whole meal of them and cycle home after the meal on tyres made of dandelion rubber! But there’s so much more to this miracle plant and I’m sure you’ve read of its many medicinal properties including it being an anti-cancer powerhouse!  Sat in the garden, a Eurasian Siskin (grønnsisik) just landed on a dandelion head showing it’s also an important plant for birds in addition to bees, beetles and other insects! Make sure you leave a few dandelions to seed and you may also experience a magical moment like this!

Dandelion harvest

Dandelions are one of my favourite winter perennial vegetables. During the summer, wild dandelions sow themselves on my cultivated beds….one of the advantages of having too much open soil! I deliberately let them grow on until late autumn when I dig up some of the roots, others left to grow on to the next year, and plant them in large pots ready to force later in the winter like witloof chicory. I usually force them by moving from storage in my cellar to a cool room in the house where I force them in the dark!