- The commonest belief about dandelions is that picking their flowers causes bed-wetting - hence its alternative name 'pee-bed' or 'pissabed'. But there is no taboo against picking the seed-heads, called 'dandelion clocks'; children blow the seeds away, counting the number of puffs needed, and claiming that this tells them the time, or the number of years before marriage. They may also recite the divinatory 'Loves me, loves me not', or 'This year, next year, sometime, never' (Vickery, 1995: 102-5). Another pastime was reported in Victorian times:Dandelion chains are made with the flower stalks only. The supple hollow stalk, denuded of its flower, is bent in a circle, and the smaller end is pushed for about half an inch into the larger. A circle is thus formed, its size depending upon the length of the stalk. This is the first link of the chain. Link is added to link, and the only limits to the length of the chain are the paucity of dandelions and the persistency of the child making it. Some children make necklets of the chain. (N&Q 9s:7 (1901), 397; cf. 474, 511 and 9s:8 (1901), 70, 232, 466)Rubbing with dandelion juice is a well-known traditional remedy for *warts, and dandelion tea is believed good for indigestion and as a spring tonic (Hatfield, 1994: 54, 56, 58).
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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