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Dr. Lena Struwe presents:
The Love and Hate of Dandelions and Their Symbolism in Today’s Society
Of all weeds in the Northern Hemisphere, dandelions likely are the best known, and simultaneously the most beloved and most hated weedy species. Its biological features have made the dandelion into a commonly used symbol associated with hope and dream fulfillment, invasion and travel, rebellion and politics, and other human issues not related to plant science. Analyses of the visual and verbal iconography of the dandelion in contemporary printed and social media—product advertisements, political comics and memes, and other public displays—show that this plant, in both abstract and concrete form, is used as a neutral, positive or negative value marker. The symbolism of the dandelion is clearly linked to its rather successful morphological features. This has led to its widespread presence not only in gardens, but also as permanent tattoos, wall paper designs, get-well and sympathy cards, and last but not least, on herbicide containers.
About Dr. Lena Struwe
Dr. Lena Struwe is the Director of the Chrysler Herbarium and Professor at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), where she teaches evolution, medicinal plants and botany, and plant systematics. She has over 30 years of research and teaching experience in the fields of plant diversity, botanical nomenclature, evolution, and ethnobotany, and has been involved in many research and teaching projects on several continents—especially regarding gentians and related families, medicinal plants and their biodocumentation, and the biodiversity and human perception of weeds. She is the recipient of several teaching awards. Together with collaborators she published the most recent worldwide classification of the gentian family and the first ever fossil flower of the asterid plant group found in New World amber. Over the years, she has discovered and described over 50 new plant species, some that were also new genera and new families. In her free time, Lena runs the blog Botanical Accuracy, where she provides free information to the public about the correct names, identity, and visuals of plants included in commercial products, such as your shampoo and herbal tea.