Experiments around the growth of Dandelion
2022 - ongoing
What is it that makes a plant endemic? How much time did a plant need to have existed, developed in or adapted to specific climates to be considered part of the local flora? Are there strategies of survival and dissemination it needs to have in order to be called a plant of the region / country / continent?
This series of experiments named "Endemia" dives deep into the global journey of the Taraxacum, known colloquially as Dandelion. This resilient plant has dispersed across continents, adapting to various climates and terrains. Their widespread distribution mirrors human migration, highlighting their adaptability in diverse environments.
Further, these seemingly ordinary plants hold untapped potential as a future food source. And Finally, due to its innovative and ludic way of reproducing its seeds it has created a very poetic myth around it: If you blow all the seeds at once, and not a single one remains, your wishes will come true!
One starting point of this ongoing research are some dandelions found in the Magallan Reservers in southern Chile. I have been researching and growing them myself to understand what are the ideal conditions for this plant. At best I will manage to cross over seeds for a superspecies. At a later point I might disseminate the resulting children back to Europe and Asia, "where it is from", supposedly.
What sets dandelions apart is their sustainability. They thrive in different conditions, requiring minimal resources and care. This resilience positions them even as a potential solution to address global food security challenges in a sustainable manner. They offer versatility in the culinary world, with their leaves serving as nutritious additions to salads, roots brewing into herbal teas, and flowers transforming into flavorful ingredients for desserts. In the after war period in Europe the roasted roots were brewed into a sort of coffee called “Muckefuck”.
Beyond their edible qualities, dandelions play a crucial role in ecology. Their deep roots enrich the soil, preventing erosion, while their flowers attract essential pollinators, fostering biodiversity. This experiment challenges preconceived notions about dandelions, revealing their potential as more than just backyard nuisances. They emerge as resilient plants with an innovative, beautiful and poetic way of dissemination, while offering a viable option for sustainable food sources and ecological stability. The latter is reason for the subtitle "Levichuga" which is based on a play on words in the spanish language ("lechuga"= "Lettuce", "levitar"="to float").
The process made and shown at Terra Ignota entails a couple of installations with individual parts of the plants: Individual seeds were floating in mid-air suspended by fishing lines, the seed-bulbs were mimicking the microphones of the radio. In a pot in the kitchen area grew an eternal source of salad and we snacked on roasted dandelion roots, which taste something between a carrot and a potato. We ate almost everything, short of a dandelion infused tea or pisco.
With interesting discussions about the topic i made a couple of interesting new contacts. Especially two who came from the botanic department of the UaCH in Valdivia, so hopefully the process will gather momentum and possibly take new unexpected turns. Here are some fotos of the show after a week, on the last day
The research is still ongoing and will be posted here as soon as there are news...