these burdock blooms look just like thistles. but they are surprisingly supple to the touch. it is not until they dry out in winter that those hooks will get rigid enough to snag (without yielding) to anything that passes by. i have no doubt that the thistle imitation plays an evolutionary role, but it is still the clinging properties of of those tiny pirate hooks that has immortalized burdock as the precursor of velcro. i love this plant in july. i will curse it all winter long.
burdock flowers (Arctium)