Children delight to gather the shaggy green burs of the Beggar's Button and form them into birds' nests, baskets, dolls, and a various assortment of similar playthings. They well know, too, the bitter taste they leave on the fingers. The Burdock is a large, coarse, bushy, branching biennial, growing from two to four feet high. The large, rough stalk is very leafy, and is round and grooved. The toothless, hollow-stemmed leaves are large, broad, and alternating. They are pointed-oval in shape, more or less wavy, and rather thin and veiny. The lower ones are heart-shaped. The small flower head is composed of numerous silky, tubular florets of varying shades of purple, gathered into soft tufts and set in a rather large, conical green bur, which is thickly covered with many sharp, spreading, long-hooked, and sticky bristles. They are set on short stems in irregular terminal, bunchy clusters. The root and fresh leaves are employed as a remedy in blood and skin disorders, and also for swellings and rheumatism. In Japan the root is known as Gobo, and is a popular vegetable in the country. Burdock is a familiar plant commonly found around neglected buildings, and along fence rows, roadways, and in pastures throughout our area, flowering in its second year, from July to November.
We have also a much taller species, A. Lappa, growing from four to ten feet in height. It is not so common, and its range is more restricted. The leaf stems are deeply grooved and not hollow.
And buttercups are coming,
And scarlet columbine, And in the sunny meadows
The dandelions shine.
And just as many daisies
As their soft hands can hold The little ones may gather,
All fair in white and gold.
Here blows the warm red clover,
God made them all for you.