Tag Archives: Rubber dandelion

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!”

Tor Smaaland’s “Your Dream Garden” from 2004

The first time my garden was featured in a book was in former Norwegian TV gardener and gardener for the King, Tor Smaaland’s 2004 book “Din drømmehage”. The book was based on Tor’s travels around Norway visiting gardens and their owners. I remember his visit well as he was like a whirlwind almost running around the garden and talking at full throttle…he told me that he was a landscape architect and new little about plants and then he was gone again…so quick was he that I didn’t get a single picture of his visit! Most of the text about the plants was written by me (see pdf at the bottom of this page!).
I loved his amusing description of me and my garden (first in Norwegian below and then translated):
«Hage til å spise opp: Som Norges kanskje eneste moderne ikke-munk har engelskmannen Stephen Barstow brukt de siste tiåra på å anlegge et slags fri klosterhage ved Malvik utenfor Trondheim med noe mellom 1500-3000 planter, avhengig av hvordan vinteren har fart over hagen. Her er 30 av hans favoritter – og ganske uventet bruk av dem» ;)
(Garden to be eaten up: As perhaps Norway’s only modern non-monk, Englishman SB has over the last 10 years created a kind of free style monastery garden in Malvik outside of Trondheim with somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 plants, dependent on the ravages of the winter. Here are 30 of his favourites and their rather unexpected uses)

You will notice quite a few of the plants that finally ended up in my book and many of which I now call Edimentals; for example: variegated ground elder (variegert skvallerkål), nodding onion (prærieløk), seiersløk (Allium victorialis), udo (Aralia cordata), giant bellflower (storklokke), daylilies (dagliljer), Hosta, golden hops (gulhumle), Malva (kattost), ostrich fern (strutseving), Bath asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), bistort (ormrot), rubber dandelion (gummiløvetann), bulrush (dunkjevle) and nettles (nesle).

Download (PDF, 10.2MB)