Dandelions Are a Vital Food for Wildlife

Feb 1, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Dandelions bloom every month of the year in South Carolina.   A perennial weed with a tap root, individual plants can live for five years or more and established plants are hard to eradicate. Each flower makes between 100 to 500 seeds that have attached structures to catch the wind and for widespread dispersal. Although perfect lawn aficionados despise them, this is one non-native plant with importance for wildlife in parts of the country. US Forestry Department studies show that both grizzly and black bears consume huge numbers of stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of dandelions. During their reproductive cycle, dandelion flowers make up 96% of the diet of Prairie chickens in North Dakota. Domestic and big horn sheep, bees and deer all use this plant for sustenance during certain months.  You, too, can enjoy dandelions by adding washed leaves to your salads.