Arctium lappa, commonly known as beggar’s buttons, greater burdock, gobo and many others, is a tall biennial plant of up to 3m.
The sweet long narrow roots and immature flower stalks tasting of its relative, the artichoke, are used in a variety of ways including as a vegetable (fresh, stir-fried, steamed, baked and fermented to make shiso and rice wine), and in a range of traditional medicinal applications.
The purple flowers aren’t unlike scotch thistle in appearance and the resulting fruit, which can be an irritant, is spread large distances by wind and animals.
Beggar’s buttons contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals including high levels of amino acids, phosphorous, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and folate.
Beggar’s buttons are a warm season crop whose roots can be harvested around four months after sowing the seed and before they become fibrous and bitter with age. They prefer a sunny aspect in a rich, deep soil high in nitrogen. This plant is not suitable for warmer climates or near conservation areas as it has a high weed potential.
ACT for Bees
ACT for Bees is a local organisation that promotes the protection of honeybees, native bees and other beneficial insects through the creation of bee-friendly gardens and communities. Their website is packed with handy resources such as pollinator-friendly plants for Canberra gardens, ‘Love Food? Love Bees!’ free curriculum units, organic directories for food, seed and plant supplies, and ways of moving towards bee-friendly cities.
For more information: actforbees.org
Birds in Backyards
Birds in Backyards is a research, education and conservation program from BirdLife Australia about the birds that live where people live. The website is an excellent resource and contains lots of useful information on identifying, observing, attracting and protecting native birdlife in your backyard and local community.
For more information: birdsinbackyards.net