Forage Friday – Burdoch and Coltsfoot

Burdock is safe to feed in a balanced mix of plants, and in moderation. It’s normally found in hedges or on open ground and commonly on waste ground. It has a two year life cycle. In the first year the plant is close to the ground and in the second it flowers and forms seed heads. It can grow to approximately 1.5m tall with large leaves reminiscent of rhubarb, and slightly furry. Our photo shows how one of the lower leaves of this plant dwarfs what is quite a big mobile phone. The root is edible too. The flowerstalk becomes quite woody, so the plant is best harvested in its first year. This is the plant that is included in dandelion and burdock. Our second edible plant is coltsfoot. Its yellow (dandelion like) flowers appear early in the year before the leaves appear. Flower stalks spring direct from the root and have an unusual stalk, looking as if there are buds all the way along it. The leaves appear after the flowers have withered and again are reminiscent of rhubarb but are very dull-looking, with a silvery and downy back and often silvery lines tracing across the top surface. It’s a common plant, found in many gardens and on arable and waste land. It’s hard to eradicate once it’s established itself. The roots grow deep and shoot out in all directions. The leaves can grow to a very large size. It’s a safe plant to feed, as with others, in moderation,and very popular with rabbits, both fresh and dried.