If you have spent any time exploring unmanicured areas in northern Illinois you have undoubtedly encountered Burdock.

The Wikipedia entry for Burdock describes its role as a food item in Asian countries and as the inspiration for Velcro, which is all well and good. What Wikipedia fails to do is to accurately describe this plant as a hateful, invasive weed that is designed to wreak havoc on the coat of medium to long-furred canines passing by.

It's slightly possible that I have not been as diligent as I could have been at trimming around the old barn. One consequence of this oversight seems to be that of allowing a burgeoning colony of Burdock to grow in and around that area. What's more, if I wasn't aware of my lawn care failings of my own accord, Rosie, our border collie/Australian shepherd mix has been helpfully making me aware.

I need to do some further research here, but based upon our recent experiences, it seems quite possible that border collies and Australian shepherds were selectively bred as Burdock seed distribution devices.

Sometimes you can catch the seed pods shortly after they have attached, at which point they can be removed fairly easily. However, miss a day or two of grooming, or fail to detect the presence of one of these things during a grooming session, and it can work it's way into a mat of fur that seems to require divine intervention (or scissors) to remove.

It appears that it could certainly be worse than we have it here, as a quick google image search confirms. Still, this fact does not prevent this plant's placement on my "I wonder if extinction is always a bad thing" list.