Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. Burry Man, South Queensferry, West Lothian, wearing costume covered in burdock burs, 11 August 2017.

2. We made seed pictures from burdock seeds, etc. [Bradford, November 2013].

3. I was born and brought up in Liverpool, but spent lots of my childhood in rural Wales.
Burdock: As children we referred to this as a sticky bud tree, and used to play the game of trying to attach the sticky buds to our friends, much as you would in a snowball fight. This was much more fun on horseback, though … trying to comb the sticky burrs out of the ponies’ manes afterwards was a distinct disadvantage [Childwall, Liverpool, July 2011].

4. We used to call burdock clingers [Thorncombe, Dorset, April 1991].

5.  In Oban, Argyll, burdock is known as sticky willow, because of the burs [Glencruitten, Argyllshire, October 1990].

6.  As a child in Essex we threw the burs of burdock … on to the backs of unsuspecting friends – if they stuck they had a sweetheart, if they fell off after a short while their affection was not reciprocated. I lived in the then countryside of Chigwell/Hainault area, but my children played the game 20 years later at Witham, Essex [Yafforth, North Yorkshire, January 1990].

Images: main, lesser burdock (Arctium minus), Faversham, Kent, July 2014; lower inset, greater burdock (A. lappa), Thames Path between Richmond and Ham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, July 2014.