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Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)


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The Butterbur flowers are now dying off. Butterbur is a pink-liver coloured plant that spreads by creeping stems. Male plants 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 plant's 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 consists of functional male flowers and several sterile ones. The female flower (not shown) are longer stalked and develop into plumed seeds. The plant likes damp places near rivers and streams. Butterbur has upright stems and, as the plant grows, the stems bear lance-shaped scales. The plant flowers March to May. Picture taken 1st May 2006 at Stevington, Bedfordshire.

3rd Jun 2006 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

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

plant flower wildlife

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