A 'weed' may in all probability be what we might consider to be a wild flower, but growing in the wrong place! Into this category can be placed the common or garden dandelion, showing magnificently this year sprinkled among lawn daisies and buttercups.

Many people may clear them out  but the golden flowers are a valuable nectar source the insect community, especially attracting butterflies, hoverflies, bees and at night moths. The leaves also act as a food plant for many species of moth caterpillars.

The name dandelion comes from the French 'dent-de-lion' or lion's tooth, alluding to the fact that the sharp pointed lobes of the leaves resemble lion's teeth. However, I have no intention of putting my head into a lion's mouth to check!

The plant not only benefits insects but humans too, for many years ago dandelion drinks were prepared for a variety of ailments including jaundice and consumption. The leaves can be added to salads, the flowers make a delicious wine  while the roots can be used as a coffee substitute'

Then of course children love to 'tell the time' by blowing on the seed heads, each puff adding an hour as the tiny parachutes are whisked away sometimes for many miles before finding a niche in which to germinate.

So, what we might call a mere 'weed' is in fact an essential component part of our flora