V Is For Velcro

Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus) – In the 1940s the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral had a brain wave when he kept noticing the sticky burrs of burdock (we also have Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa), which is similar) kept attaching to his clothes when he passed by it. Also called ‘Sticky Buttons’, he thought he might be able to replicate the idea to produce a clothes fastening. After trial and error, and with inspiration from the plant, it took him around 8 years to perfect his product which he finally called Velcro.

Not to forget that dandelion and burdock has been a poupular soft drink since the Middle Ages, one I used to drink a lot of as a child when pop came in glass bottles and you could take them back to the shop and get a few pennies for the return to spend on a bag of sweets.

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

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13 thoughts on “V Is For Velcro

  1. An interesting snippet of information as well as a peep into a ‘greener’ past when glass bottles were returnable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never really come across the actual burdock plant much, so nice to see one. Ah good old glass bottles of dandelion and burdock with the pennies back for returning. Ben Shaw’s was the local one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I certainly remember those glass bottles we coveted. If we combed the ditches or alleyways and found a half-dozen, we thought ourselves wealthy at five cents each. Your burdock reminds me of our beggar-ticks (Bidens pilosa). I fell into some of those in the middle of Kansas once, and it took forever to pull them all from the sweater I was wearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating. There’s a plant here in Idaho called houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale) which has pretty purple flowers which eventually turn into seeds called “beggar’s lice” because of their Velcro-like ability to attach to anything they come into contact with, including dog fur.

    Liked by 1 person

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