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Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)


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The leaves of Butterbur. Butterbur is a pink-liver coloured plant that spreads by creeping stems. Male plant are common across England, however female plants are generally only found in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire. Male plants occasioanlly have a single female flower on them and this may help with pollination. The plants large leaves (up to 90cm) have a dense felting of hairs underneath and were used to wrap butter. The plant was also used to cure blemishes. The male flower-head is short stalked and consist of functional male flowers and several sterile ones. The female flower (not shown) are longer stalked and develop into plummed seeds. The plant likes damp places near rivers and streams. Butterbur has upright stems and as the plant grows the stem bear lance-shaped scales. The plant flowers March to May. Picture taken 17th March at Felmersham, Bedfordshire.

22nd Mar 2009 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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