I was introduced to burdock hated and beloved on a wild food walk 3 years ago. We stopped
at some dried up, first year burdock plants on the edge of some woods. We could identify them from the burdock seed pods which inspired the invention of velcro! Our herbalist teacher started digging up a burdock root from a plant that didn’t look like it was so tall. There are two types: Arctium Lappa (greater burdock) and Arctium Minus (lesser burdock).
After much effort and digging our teacher retrieved the root. It was a small plant so it wasn’t too hard to dig up. I have tried digging burdock and believe me it clings to the earth and grows very long. I was not able to dig up a full root. I had to break it off after digging down almost 12 inches. We all tasted a little part of the root. I was not so impressed. What I am impressed with are the healing properties of burdock!!
Why I Call Burdock Hated and Beloved
I call burdock hated and beloved because it is so tenacious that once it gets established in your garden you will always be battling it. It is a very strong, robust plant. I call it beloved because it is so incredibly healing; how can we actually do without it?
Studying About Communicating With Plants
I have been reading a book about communicating with plants. The author suggests that you notice the feelings that you have around plants. So I had an encounter with burdock in my garden the other day. I wrote down my feelings and reactions in a poem:
Burdock Hated and Beloved
What is that dark green unfurling from the earth?
Deep, crinkled, intensely green and alive
Against the backdrop of winter’s stark desolate garden
Burdock hated and beloved…
Coming back for another chance!
It stops me in my tracks…
Astounded with its appearance
In cold mid March
So robust and green
And coming back from
My efforts at destruction!
Joy and pleasure in its appearance
Dread on what to do with it
Let it grow and flourish and multiply??
Questioning how can I kill it again
Last year I heard its cry
As I cut it down, down down
A sense of wonder at its tenacity
Admiration for its strength
Respect for its medical qualities
Awe for its slow-working ability to heal
Looking forward to its joyful purple flowers
So many flowers come forth
And then… so many seeds
Burdock spreading spreading
Throughout my garden
Fear that it will overtake my garden
And I will forever be cutting down burdock
So what to do???