I choose to illustrate the dandelion because it is tenacious and it represents all of the things that a healthy soil and plants can provide. The dandelion can grow in the most difficult conditions, but offers multiple benefits to other plants, animals and humans, if the soil and the earth is healthy.
Dandelions are thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia. They have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. A Persian scientist Al-Razi around 900 AD wrote "the tarashaquq is like chicory", and the Persian scientist and philosopher Ibn Sīnā around 1000 AD wrote a book chapter on the plant. Dandelions are found on all continents and have been gathered for food since prehistory. Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a number of pharmacologically active compounds. A perennial plant, its leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact.
The seeds of the dandelion are an important food source for certain birds and are also important plant for Northern Hemisphere bees, providing an important source of nectar and pollen early in the season. Dandelions are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). In the garden, the dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen.
So why would you saturate this plant with chemicals to kill it? The chemicals also kills the living organisms in the soil that break down dead plant and animal matter into nutrients for things to thrive. Chemicals also kills off the pollinators, like the bee and upsets the Eco-balance of life, the web of life that is a link between the earth, plants and animals. Remember that we, humans, are part of that web. What we do to the earth, the soil, the things that grow and feed upon the soil and its products, we do to our future — Lyla Paakkanen