All illustrations by Felicity Rose Cole
Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense (above)
Produces white, feathery seeds, or thistledown. Before dispersal each tight seed head is known as a pappus.
Lesser burdock Arctium minus
Relative of thistles that bears stiff, prickly, hooked seeds, which disperse by clinging to fur.
Teasel Dipsacus fullonum
Tall, thistle-like herb that produces fruiting heads protected by spikes, once used to tease out wool fibres.
Traveller’s joy Clematis vitalba
Hedgerow climber that bears seeds on pale grey, wispy tendrils, hence its alternative name of old man’s beard.
Goat’s-beard Tragopogon pratensis
Member of dandelion family that produces a spherical ‘clock’, each containing many fluffy seed heads.
Common mallow Malva sylvestris
Wayside plant that bears seeds inside capsules shaped like cheeses, hence their old name of pick-cheeses.
Meadow cranesbill Geranium pratense
Wayside plant that encloses its seeds in pointed pods shaped like beaks. When ripe, they explode at a touch.
Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria
Tall grassland flower that bears burs on long spikes; these can be ‘unzipped’ by pulling upwards.
Bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Member of the clover family with splayed pointed seed pods in the shape of a bird’s foot.
Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera
Invasive, damp-loving plant from the Far East. Its seed pods explode at a touch when ripe.
Wood avens Geum urbanum
Hooked seeds designed to attach to the fur of passing animals. When bur dries out, those left fall to the ground.
Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium
Large relative of cow parsley with round, ribbed seeds that cling to the dried umbrellas of the parent plant.