Burdock

From Academic Kids

Burdock

Burdock
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Asterales
Family:Asteraceae
Genus:Arctium
Species

Burdock, refers to any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Common Burdock (A. minus) grows wild throughout most of North America, Europe and Asia.

Missing image
Big_Burrs.jpg
Burs of Woodland Burdock

Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18" (45 cm) long. They are generally large, course andovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through October.

The prickly heads of these Old World weeds are noted for easily catching onto fur and clothing, thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal. Burs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.

A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).

The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli).

The green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis in humans due to the lactones the plant produces.

Uses

The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favor in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia. A. lappa is called gobo (牛蒡) in Japanese. Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow up to 1 meter long and 2 cm across. Burdock root is very crispy and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related.

"Dandelion and Burdock" is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom, and authentic recipes are sold by health food shops, but it is not clear whether the cheaper supermarket versions actually contain either plant. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue.

Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name niupangzi (Template:Zh-cp).

Burdock and Velcro

AFTER taking his dog for a walk one day in the early 1940s, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious about the seeds of the burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog's fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds have evolved to hitchhike on passing animals and aid pollination, and he realised that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro: a product that was arguably more than three billion years in the making, since that is how long the natural mechanism that inspired it took to evolve.

Species

Missing image
Illustration_Arctium_minor0.jpg
Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus)
from Thom Flora von Deutschland, sterreich und der Schweiz 1885
da:Burre (Arctium)

de:Kletten eo:Lapo fr:Bardane ja:ゴボウ nl:Gewone klit sv:Kardborre zh:牛蒡

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