Tag Archives: burdock

“Last Season’s Burdock”

“Last Season’s Burdock”

“I tried to abandon my tenacity, but I just couldn’t let it go.”
― Tim Fargo

The nemesis of dog owners, common burdock, with it’s supernatural ability to stick to fur or cloth and then break into tiny parts when you try to remove them.

It’s really quite a fascinating plant, uniquely adapted to transport its seeds far, far, away by attaching to unsuspecting carriers. The tiny, tough, hook-like structures on the ends of the “burr” can grab onto the most delicate fibers with incredible tenacity. One of our modern fasteners, Velcro®, was developed by somebody studying this plant and mimicking its ability to hold fast.

The image above was made last weekend and is a reminder from last year’s crop. A bit weathered, but still able to stick to fur, and just the right height to attach to anything that brushes against it. I’ve spent many hours trying to remove burrs from my dog’s coat. My current dog, a beagle, is short hared and fairly immune to these tenacious seed packages.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

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“Common Burdock”

“Common Burdock”

“Do not allow any negativity or ugliness in your surroundings, or anybody at all, destroy your confidence or affect your growth as a blooming flower. It is very normal for one ugly weed to not want to stand alone.”
― Suzy Kassem

The bane of all dog owners and hikers. These ‘stick to everything’ seeds of the common burdock are really quite an ingenious way to transport seeds long distances. For those unfamiliar with ‘burrs’, the spiky balls are tipped with a hook, which easily catches on anything rubbing against the plant. The hooks cling with amazing force and are very difficult to remove. When long haired dogs run through a patch of these, the result for the dog owner is usually hours of manually picking the burrs from the animal’s fur.

The hooks work very well, and I believe are the inspiration for Velcro. This makes long distance seed dispersal possible since they do not easily dislodge, but rather, break off over time.

It’s interesting, especially when reflection on the quote I chose, that I had always seen burdock as a bit of an ‘ugly’ plant, though the blossoms in midsummer are quite pretty. Yet in the fall, they are brittle brown bushes. I found isolating the plant against the black background and using the right light brought out beauty, in even this  plant. Something to consider, in many contexts.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200mm
4.0 sec, f/22.0, ISO 200

High Resolution image on 500px:

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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