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  • Strategy

Hooks adhere to wooly coats: burdock


Burdock seed magnified 100x / SecretDisc / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

The calyx of the burdock attach to the wooly animal coats via scales tipped by incurved hooks.


"Calyx globular, formed of numerous narrow scales, each tipped with a little incurved hook, by means of which the whole calyx, when laden with ripe seed, easily separating from its stalk, adheres to the hairy or wooly coats of animals, who can scarcely free themselves from this encumbrance without rubbing the calyx to pieces, and so scattering the seed about their habitations, where it is most likely to meet with a manured soil." (Smith and Sowerby 1804:1228)

About the inspiring organism
Med_800pxbur_macro_blackbg Arctium lappa
Arctium lappa L.
Common name: Great burdock

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_NE IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: A hook-covered piece of fabric fastens reversibly to a loop-covered piece of fabric

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Industrial, consumer, military, automotive, construction, and personal care sectors

Smith JE; Sowerby J. 1804. English Botany, or Coloured Figures of British Plants, with their Essential Characters, Synonyms and Places of Growth. Vol. XVIII. London: R. Taylor.
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