Stuck On You: Botanically Speaking


I had thought to put together a blog post on the Green Kingdom’s nefarious ways of spreading its seeds by way of animal fur. We have an exemplary observatory of that phenomenon in the neighbor’s woolly dog Feather that spends much time here with our dog Gandy.

But the morning has gotten away from me with Obligations that came first before blogging. Yes I know, that’s pathetic to let organizational minutes and press releases and other such trivia come before telling a few readers about some obscure personal discovery in the natural (or unnatural) world. But there you have it.

So I’ll just offer this shot of Burdock (genus Artcium) as the culmination, size-wise, of things we will be wresting out of Feather’s fur. It inspired Velcro for its tenacious hold. Quite an interesting (if obnoxious) wild weed–edible, deadly to small birds and useful for natural sculptures.

Regarding those three off-label uses see the third row down on this Google Images page for burdock. It will be worth the click.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. If you were referring to that lovely sculpture, it was worth it. (More like 6 rows down on my machine.) Along ways down a lovely woman was posed, covered modestly with only 2 huge burdock leaves.