In recent weeks, every time I’ve returned from a country-park wander I’ve found my socks and shoes, and my hoodie if I’ve had it tied around my waist, covered in small burrs. These are the seed heads of Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) and this is their ingenious method of spreading themselves around the countryside.
Just as some plants have seeds that have adapted to being blown in the wind, so others have devised methods of being transported by small (or, in this case, not so small) mammals. As you can see from my photos below, Agrimony fruit have a fringe of hooked bristles around their lower edge. These enable the fruit to become attached to the hides of cows, the wool of sheep, the fur of dogs, the socks of humans, to name just a few examples.
In my case, they mostly end up in the bin, but I’m sure a few will have fallen off during my walk home and, if I notice them on my hoodie, I pull them off as I’m walking along, thus doing my bit to help the plant go forth and multiply!