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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

02 September, 2016

Lesser Burdock: natural velcro



Lesser burdock (Arctium minus) is complicated! There are actually three subspecies of lesser burdock and the differences are minimal unless yolu are something of an expert botanist with an eye for detail. My field guide, "Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland" by Marjorie Blamey, Richard Fitter and Alastair Fitter describes these differences. The subspecies Arctium minus ssp minus has flower stalks of less than 1cm with the florets sticky or downy. The ssp nemorosum has flower stalks of less than 1cm with the florets never sticky or downy! This subspecies is sometimes called the wood burdock. The third ssp pubens (sometimes called the intermediate burdock) has flower stalks between 1cm and 4cms.
The first of these is the most common and I am afraid I cannot even begin to try and sort out which of the many burdock plants I see belongs to which subspecies so I record them all as lesser burdock!
It gets its name for from the seed heads that have hooks, just like velcro, and attach themselves to passing animals and human clothing, These are called burrs hence the name burdock. 
Lesser Burdock: natural velcro