Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Name Calling

It's not clear which part of the Dandelion was the source of its name - it could be the jagged leaves resembling the teeth of a lion, or the whole jaw of a lion; the yellow flower resembling the mane of a lion or the golden teeth of the heraldic lion.

Dandelion is a corruption of the French Dent de Lion. It's former scientific Latin name was Dens leonis and Linnaeus assigned it the name Leontodon taraxacum. Taraxacum is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder) and akos (remedy). It's scientitic name is now Taraxacum officinale assigned by Weber. Officinale is from the Latin officina meaning pharmacy.

Different European countries use the Lion's tooth name too:

Diente de león - Spanish

Dente-de-leão - Portugese

Dente di leone - Italian

Löwenzahn - German

Løvetann - Norwegian

Løvetand - Danish

Dant y Llew - Welsh

There's also masses of local names: Swine's Snout, Blowball, Irish Daisy, Lion's Tooth, Priest's Crown, Canker Wort, Clocks and Watches, Devil's milk plant, Fairy Clock, Fortune Teller, Pee in the bed, Piss-a-bed, Puffball, Wet-a-bed, Wild Endive.

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