Dandelion in Kansas
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Jeff Delimont
Posted on: June 20, 2000

I was considering planting Dandylion on a few acres of ground that I have. I see that there are some places that use not only the root but also the leaves, flowers, etc.

I noticed that on your info page that you stated that buyers want "water-soluble extractive not less than 30%."

I take this to mean that buyers want the root so they can extract the juice from it?

No, this is for dried roots used in the manufacture of herbal medicines. This comes from the book, "Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals" (available from Richters). The standard applied means that when the dried root is extracted in water, 30% or more of the dry weight of the roots is lost to the water.

Not all buyers will use this standard. Buyers for non-medicinal products such as tea blends and coffee-substitutes may use different standards for assessing quality. The information in the ProGrowers Info boxes is not meant to be taken as an absolute standard for all uses and all buyers; rather, they should be taken more as a guideline for what some of the more important buyers are using for quality control.

Is there any special kind of Dandelion that I should plant?

It is unclear which dandelion variety is the best for the medicinal trade. There is an argument for using the wild dandelion because people assume that wild strains will be the most medicinal. This assumption has not borne itself out in many cases, so we suggest that you try the French dandelion as well as the wild dandelion. The French cultivar is more productive and easier to establish from seeds because the seeds tend to be higher quality and more uniform in size.

I live in Kansas and have been talking to places like Celestial Seasonings Tea in Boulder, Colorado. While they are great about sending me a pamplet on what they purchase, I am having a hard time getting specific information on really what a buyer is looking for. Any information that you could provide me would be of great help and much appreciated.

This is a very common situation! Buyers are loathe to talk specifics with potential suppliers for several reasons: 1) they find that prospective growers take up a lot of time and more often than not do not deliver what they say they will; and 2) in some cases, they do not have objective standards and instead rely on simple organoleptic testing (taste, smell, colour) and perhaps routine bacterial counts and foreign matter determinations.

You may find that you will have to delve in with a test plot, generate some sample material and send it around to prospective buyers for their reaction.

I also want to tell you how much I appreciate this Question and Answer page you have. It is really wonderful to see a supplier that not only sells to the customer, but really goes the extra mile to help after the sale. I have told many of my friends here in Kansas about your website and I am sure they will soon be loyal customers as I have become.

Thank you very much for the feedback. It is much appreciated!

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