FlowerMuse: Taraxacum (Dandelion) for Andy Murray

That tennis champion Andy Murray had to pull out of the Australian Open due to an ongoing hip injury may have been news to some this week but it was his emotional post on social media that was much more revealing.  Usually rather stoic with the Press his lengthy instagram post gave us an insight into the personal agonising that went into his decision;


View this post on Instagram

Hey everyone.. Just wanted to write a little message on here for anyone interested in what in going through right now. Firstly I want to apologise to @brisbanetennis for withdrawing at late notice and to everyone who wanted to come along to watch me play(or lose😇) The organisers couldn't have been more understanding and supportive and I'll always remember that. Thank you. I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists. Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing. Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not. I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and Compete.. I genuinely miss it so much and i would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game. Everytime I wake up from sleeping or napping i hope that it's better and it's quite demoralising when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level. In the short term I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and get this off my chest as it's really hurting inside. Hope to see you back on the court soon 🎾😢❤️

A post shared by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on


Indeed the injury is bad, the thrice Grand Slam champion has not played a competitive match since Wimbledon last summer. And he’s not alone, fellow tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have also missed matches due to painful problems recently (Nadal’s knee, Djokovic’s elbow).  Roger Federer isn’t complaining though, at 36 he’s the eldest of the “Fab Four” but still fighting fit and winning on court. The others all are hoping rest and rehabilitation, rather than debilitating surgery, will help them recover quickly.

No doubt Andy et al are receiving treatment from experts in their type of sports injury. And the top sports therapists will be on hand to soothe and calm and belie on any signs of defeatism.  What can we do then?  Andy says thanks for all the supportive messages.  But I wonder what he’d say to a receiving a big, beautiful bunch of dandelions?


“What’s with the weeds”, he might think. But these aren’t insulting flowers, we have them all wrong. They are meant as little offerings of joy; for cheering up and bolstering confidence.  So named “Dent-de-lion” or Lion’s tooth, from the medieval French; a reference to the flower’s jagged leaves and to it’s ancient symbolism – as a soul restoring combatant to defeat life’s challenges. Now known to us as dandelions to us,  the latin genus taraxcrum never took off.

Take a closer look we should urge.


A mass of yellow to orange tightly packed florets make up the smallish flower heads. These are surrounded by deeply toothed green leaves – which open to the sun’s warmth in the day and close up at night.  The heads are supported by leafless, hollow green stalks, full of an oozy milky latex substance when broken, belie a deeply entrenched tap root. After a few days in bloom they close and the seeds develop in the flower head. Then they open again to reveal spherical seed heads (or ‘clocks’ named after the childhood game of blowing them to tell the time) that self-seed in the breeze – without pollination – which is why they easily spread and propagate.

Thought to have evolved 30 million years ago, they were well used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years.  The root and flowers brewed as a tea or wine, and the leaves eaten in salads or blanched like spinach,  dandelions are considered anti-inflammatory and relief for arthritic pain (so all good for Andy’s hip) and packed full of vitamins – it seems rather wrong that today we discredit such history.  But that’s probably because of that bed-wetting association with dandelions from their English folk name “piss-a-bed” (and the French pissenlit) which referred to another of the plant’s healing properties – as a diuretic.


Entrenching, indefatigable, joyful. Who knew the dandelion was quite so plucky? And whilst we have some time to wait for these to show in our bare and frosty gardens, we can still take on those New Year resolutions in dandelion style; with true grit and determination. C’mon Andy, don’t give up – find your inner dandelion!





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