Sunday, 28 June 2009

Dandelion and ?

An imposing plant to kick off today's blog entry. Growing all around the highways and byways of Shipley Park are these stately, tall, large-leaved plants. Great Burdock (Arctium lappa).

The flowers are not quite open yet, they will take another few days, but the size of the leaves - up to 3ft long and 2ft wide - is impressive enough. The whole plant grows to more than 6ft tall and, when the flowers start to appear, they look a little like thistle heads. The round flower heads are made of masses of stiff bracts, each with hooks (or burs) on the end and it is from these that it gets it's name. Great Burdock was used as a vegetable during the middle ages, but only a few countries of the world still eat the roots, notably some of the Far-Eastern countries. It was also used for traditional Dandelion and Burdock soft drink. The roots of both plants being fermented together to make a naturally sparkling drink. Like most things these days, modern-day Dandelion and Burdock actually contains not a trace of either plant, relying on artificial flavours instead.
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