Sunday, November 27, 2011

Burdock Burrs-Nature's Velcro

Sorry, it has been a long time since my last post---life!   If you walk off the trails at Springbrook this time of year, you may get a surprise hitch-hiker firmly attached.  Burdock burrs are waiting for any passerby to attach to. This is this plant's mechanism to move to a new location-seed dispersal.  And this plant has a unique method that humankind now uses everywhere. 
I sliced this burr in half so the hundreds of seeds are exposed inside.  But look at all the "hooks" waiting to snag a coat cuff, sock, scarf, dog tail, or kids mittens.  I was told long ago that this plant was the inspiration for a scientist's idea for velcro, and, if true, you can see why.  There are over a thousand hooks on each burr, enlarged below. 

This is a great idea taken from nature. But it is a good thing there are no weed seeds in velcro.

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