Submitted by Margaret Graham. Photos by Adele Stapleton and Richard Doucette
A group of 10 club members answered the call to pull the common burdock (Arctium minus) around the Nature Walk at McArthur Island. A variety of tools were used to remove the deep-rooted plants and we filled a number of large garbage bags in a couple of hours, finishing just before the rain started. In the holes left by the burdock, Jesse Ritcey planted some little tarragon plants (Artemisia dracunculus) which is the host plant for a type of swallowtail.
For those not familiar with burdock, it has large leaves similar to rhubarb. It is an invasive species introduced from Eurasia. Its flowers mature in July – October. Being a biennial plant, the first year the plant gets established and the second year it produces its seeds which consist of prickly burs. These burs catch onto fur and clothing and are easily spread by hitching a ride on animals and humans, therefore it is important to remove the seed heads before they mature. Apparently, the burs were the inspiration for the Velcro fasteners. The roots of the first-year plants are prized by the Japanese as a vegetable. Indigenous peoples also roasted the roots for food and used them as a medicinal herb.
Thank you to everyone who helped to dig out the burdock. Thank you to Adele Stapleton and Richard Doucette for the photos.