Friday, October 18, 2013

Rough Avens

I'm a volunteer Land Steward for the Bruce Trail, and today I went out to inspect the property I'm responsible for.  We're supposed to leave the trail behind, and inspect the entire property, in other words wander off the trail - so guess what I came home covered with - more burs, Agrimony (see yesterday's post) and Rough Avens to be specific.

After Agrimony, Rough Avens is the other most common bur around here.  But it operates a little differently.  This is the bur that is left on the plant after the flower blooms; by fall it has dried out and turned brown.

But these are the burs that stick to my sleeves and sox.  The larger bur from the plant comes easily apart and it's the individual little burs that grab you, each with a tiny hook on the end to hang on with.  They're a bit more of a nuisance to pick off because they're so small. It took me some sleuthing to link the bur you see on the plant with the individual burs that you find on your sleeve.

This is the inconspicuous yellow bloom in June.  They bloom so briefly that I didn't even catch this one with all five petals, but it's the best I've got.  The blooms seem to me to last only a few hours, and you can already see the large bur forming in the centre of the flower.

Here's a plant with both a bloom and a recently formed bur at the same time, still looking mostly green.  These plants are all through our meadow, and many old fields around here, so step off the trail, and you're likely to find a few - or else they'll find you.


  1. Such a pretty flower, and such a stickery bur!

  2. Quite a pretty little thing in spite of the burrs.

  3. Plants are so clever to come up with such designs. Good for you for volunteering to care for the land. It is very important. ;>) They said the moon eclipse was to be very subtle and that it would be more obvious in Europe. I guess it was very, very subtle.

  4. Nice. Our most annoying bur-bearer is bur-chervil ( Their burs are SO FINE, that when you try to remove them from your sock, they'll frequently break off into the skin on your fingers. And just SEEING that thing to take it out is a party in its own right.

    I kinda extra LIKE the 4-petal shot of a 5-petal flower. Makes you look twice. =)

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    1. How cool that you monitor the plants there. The Geum burs are very hard to get out of gloves. We have Geum macrophylla wild in our yard, after a while of seeing how tough it is, I started collecting other Geums. The ones that can be grown from seed, Mrs. Bradshaw, Blazing Sunset, and Lady Stratheden were the first, then I got tempted by the nursery plants and ended up with Mango Lassi, Cooky, Totally Tangerine, and Queen of Orange. I found out the ones from seed have larger flowers and bloom longer, though the nursery cultivars have a nicer clump of basal foliage. I also got one that has medicinal and culinary properties, Geum urbanum. I have been tempted to grow Prairie Smoke, which has pink puffy flowers instead of burs, but all the other Geums make burs. They seem tough and reliable bloomers so far. I wrote a blog about them-

  6. Oh yes, I've brought many of those home!