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Identity crisis

Foxglove and burdock – hide the top and spot the difference

In the early spring it would be possible for me to kid myself that the foxgloves we introduced to the garden had seeded themselves in all sorts of interesting places.

Sadly I know this isn’t the case. We’re in fact harbouring a powerful and (where it gets comfortable enough to grow a tap root) almost indestructible weed – burdock.

Until they declare themselves, foxglove and burdock plants look remarkably alike. The photo shows a foxglove growing and a burdock uprooted and set alongside it.

The main difference is that the central vein is reddish on foxglove leaves and starkly white on burdock leaves.

In our case there isn’t much danger of pulling up foxgloves by mistake. Basically if you don’t remember planting it there, it’s a burdock.

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