Monday, March 31, 2008

For Laura: A Burdock Education

Today I am covered in invisible pricklies despite my bath last night and vigorous scrubbing. Yesterday was another battle in the war on burdock. I burned more than 50 second year plants. This after burning HUNDREDS of them last fall and already having 3 previous burning sessions this spring. I don't know how I get these pricklies everywhere. I wore a non-stick jacket and a kerchief over my hair. Yet, I have pricklies on my neck!?! When did burdock ever touch my neck? They wormed their way through my jeans and even my hiking shoes. How do they do that? But I have only about 10 more plants left standing on this 7 acres... not bad.

But it has come to my attention that my sister, Laura, does not know what burdock is. I see this as a great oversight in my big-sisterly-education. And although I left her a lengthy comment on her blog, I am sure she is dieing to know more! So the following is for you, Laura! (and for Bethany so she can righteously object when called burdock!)

Here is what a 2 year old plant looks like in the spring after all the huge, rhubarb like leaves have all decayed.



And on the end of all those arms are clusters of the stickiest burs ever grown. They are the inspiration for Velcro and have ruined many a hair cut and fleece, cheapened the value of wool and caused the manes and tails of many a horse to be cut short.


Here is a young second year plant. You can tell it is a second year plant by its vigorousness and by the white underside of the leaves.(A first year plant likely wouldn't have sprouted yet and it would be much smaller and look deceivingly like foxglove or violets.) This one is headed for burdock beer.


And this? This is a velcro pile of burs that I picked up off the ground. It tripled in size before being cast into the fire.

5 comments:

Mary-Sue said...

you neglected to mention that it doesn't need the "female" side of velcro to stick -- it'll velcro itself right onto smooth skin! and be difficult to pull off!

bum.by.the.sea said...

quite, quite. very illuminating.

Laura said...

i read that you can eat the burdock root.

Andrea said...

Yes, the Japanese have recipes that call for it. They grow burdock on purpose...

sheila said...

Heya Andrea!

Maybe it's my browser, but there is something weird about your blog's appearance. It is super hard to see. I hope it hasn't been fiddled with.