Tuesday, 28 July 2015

In Pursuit of Burdocks

Burdocks (Arctium spp.) have been an ongoing source of interest and intrigue, particularly Wood Burdock (Arctium nemorosum) for which my main challenge has been what does it look like and why can't I find it! I am still none the wiser, but this rather niche pursuit is answering other questions and it has driven me to attempt to capture images of all the taxa to assist ongoing study.

I have blogged about Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus ssp. pubens) previously, and Mike Wilcox has also independently come to the same conclusion i.e. it is very common, looks and behaves like a discrete species, and is the dominant species in much of Mid-West Yorkshire.

The other Lesser Burdock, they really do need different common names, (Arctium minus ssp. minus) in comparison is very much a plant of the south and is the dominant form in Huntingdonshire, where the following photo was taken. Note the small flowers, short pedicels, and the rather neat arrangement along the axis of the branch.

The final plant is also familiar to southern botanists - Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa or A. minus ssp. lappa, depending on your view). It is of scattered occurrence in Huntingdonshire where it is most common in the Fens, but only occurs as a very rare casual in Mid-West Yorkshire.

So the quest for Wood Burdock is ongoing, but distributional data on the other taxa is rapidly accruing.

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