Johnny Burdock Seed, or You’ve Been Burred!

We spent Thanksgiving on Long Island.

Esau the dog near Mecox Bay. (Note how all plants are brown, killed when the bay flooded its banks during Hurricane Sandy.)

Returning to the city, I let my guard down as the dog and I strolled along the upper path in Riverside Park. I was daydreaming, working out a problem in a short play I’m writing. Suddenly I noticed the poor dog was limping. Leaves were hanging off his hind legs, but leaves don’t make a dog limp.

The culprit? My old enemy. Burrs!

Esau, you’ve been burred!

I pulled off the leaves to reveal the hated seeds of the burdock plant.

Burrs on both hind legs.

The evil burdock plants that line the path  had once again entangled my dog’s fur with sticky seeds, turning the poor beast into Johnny Burdockseed, an inadvertent carrier spreading the gospel of burdock wherever he might go.

Still distracted by my thoughts, I didn’t think to take off my mittens before pulling out the burrs.

Grrr. These things are almost impossible to pull out of thick knitted fabric. They break apart easily, and stick to everything they touch, even bare skin. For more on the incredible sticking properties of burdock and the amazing invention they inspired, watch Kelly Rypkema’s video on burdock.

Here are burrs dangling off a burdock plant, like ornaments on Morticia Adams’s Christmas tree.

But lest the brown withered stalk make you think the plant is on its last, er, legs, just take a look at those big healthy-looking green leaves. This burdock is here to stay.

Damn you, burdock. Leave my dog alone.

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9 Comments on “Johnny Burdock Seed, or You’ve Been Burred!”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    He’s a burdock magnet if ever there was one… that tail is just too tempting.

  2. Barbara Says:

    I empathize having had my old collie burred, and even my short-haired labs get burred – poor Esau – poor you!


  3. Frustration for you, but you can’t fault the Burdock’s incredibly effective method of seed transferral :)


    • I agree with Mark. And feel for you and Esau. Argh! These burdocks are becoming a recurring theme!


    • I couldn’t agree more, Mark. QUite an extraordinary system for world domination, uh, I mean, seed dispersal. I do feel for wild furry beasts that don’t have their own human complete with opposable thumbs and a pair of scissors to help get the seeds out. Esau pulled and tugged, and tried to swallow a bunch of seeds which seemed to be a very uncomfortable business. Makes my throat itch and hurt just to think about trying to choke down those clingy little stickers. He kind of took to his bed for a few hours, like a Victorian heroine, but now seems none the worse for the experience.


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