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Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice

Jim Dixon 08 Dec 08 - 02:54 PM
Melissa 08 Dec 08 - 03:10 PM
Melissa 08 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
semi-submersible 09 Dec 08 - 01:05 AM
JohnInKansas 09 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM
GUEST 29 Aug 11 - 12:13 AM
Janie 29 Aug 11 - 01:13 AM
Janie 29 Aug 11 - 01:41 AM
Jenny S 29 Aug 11 - 10:47 AM
open mike 29 Aug 11 - 03:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Aug 11 - 06:30 PM
Jenny S 30 Aug 11 - 03:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Aug 11 - 04:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Aug 11 - 04:17 PM
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Subject: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 02:54 PM

The naming of wild plants and animals is a type of folklore. Often the same species is known colloquially by different names in different places, or the same name might be used for different species.

Right now I'm interested in the kinds of seed that stick to your clothing when you brush against the plant.

Sometimes you don't notice the seed until long after you have passed the plant, and unless you're very curious about such things, you might never figure out which kind of seed came from which plant.

What do you call these seeds?

Do you know different terms for different kinds of seeds, or do you use one catchall term for all types of sticky seeds in your environment?

Do you know what kind of plant each seed comes from? Do you use a different term for the plant than you use for the seed?

And finally, where are you from?

Here are some of the terms I have found:

tickseeds
Spanish needles
beggar lice
cobbler's pegs
devil's pitchforks
tick-tights
preacher's lice


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Melissa
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 03:10 PM

I call the little round ones 'burrs'
big oval spiky ones 'cockleburrs'
flat, sort of triangular ones 'stick tights'
and skinny, needly ones 'spanish needles'

I know what spanish needle plants look like before they turn into stickers, but not the others.
I've never heard any of them with Lice/Tick in the names..

North Central Missouri..US


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Melissa
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

..and in the Nebraska Sandhills, I encountered things called 'sand burrs' which were on the ground, very sharp needled and fell apart when you tried to unhook them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar l
From: semi-submersible
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 01:05 AM

Burrs grow on Burdock. (I think it's an introduced species, here on the coast of British Columbia, Canada.) Burdock wasn't common in my neighbourhood when I was a little girl; I first became acquainted with burrs on a family visit to relatives in the UK. On departing thence, Mom remembered me saying farewell to memorable features of the British landscape, like sheep and stone walls. Forgetting the word "burr" I called out, "Bye-bye, colds."

I don't know the name of the long black seeds like grass seeds that work their way through your socks with backward-pointed bristles and jab you with their sharp tips. I haven't seen them in a while.

You could use "stickers" as a generic word for hitchhiking seeds.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM

Several slight variants at USDA: bidens

I don't find the ones in my back yard (SE Kansas) there. Seeds look like the "spanish needles" on the first page, but the flowers and foliage are something different.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 12:13 AM

is desmodium adscendens the same as bidens pilosa


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Janie
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 01:13 AM

Hi Jim.

Where I hail from (West Virginia and North Carolina,) "Spanish Needles" is a common name applied to several species, most of them bidens. Coreopsis species in theses parts are more likely to be called "tickseed." Bidens and coreopsis are closely related. It seems that if the leaf of the plant is finely cut or intricately lobed, as with bidens species, folks are likely to call any number of the assorted species spanish needles. If the leaves are three lobed or not lobed at all, as with coreopsis, folks tend to identify them by the common name tickseed.

In these parts (both West Virginia and North Carolina,) the common names of stick tights or beggars ticks are applied to assorted species of desmodium - tick trefoils - in the pea family.

In West Virginia, Queen Anne's Lace is sometimes called "Stink Weed" due to assorted beetles that feed on their pollen. After moving to North Carolina I grew and sold fresh cut flowers at farmers markets for a few years, and often went out and gathered wildflowers to incorporate into my bouquets, including and especially the common and prolific Queen Anne's Lace. That is when I learned a fairly common local name for Queen Anne's Lace is "Chigger Weed," because it tends to thrive in pastures with tall grasses where chiggers are also common. Needless to say, those who called it thus rarely bought bouquets containing it.

I don't doubt the experience behind the locally common name, but while I endured many chigger infestations wildcrafting medicinal wild plants with my ex-spouse, I never had problems with chiggers from harvesting Queen Anne's Lace blooms in local hayfields to round out my bouquets.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Janie
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 01:41 AM

Guest, Bidens and desmodium are very different. Bidens species are in the aster family.   Rayed flowers, usually yellow. The seeds are usually black or striped black with two prongs on one end. Desmodium species are unmistakably legumes. Blooms are usually violet to pink and typical of pea family blooms. Leaves consist of three leaflets. They form long or longish seed pods as with other peas, but with "velcro" on the exterior, and the pods may be segmented between seeds to the extent that if you brush against them with a pants leg, part of the pod will break off and cling.

A number of different species and families of plants have seed pods that are rounded, spiny burrs. Many, but certainly not all by any stretch, are in the aster family, (a huge family, btw.) Sedges and grasses are the other two most common families of plants that produce spiny, rounded seed capsules.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Jenny S
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 10:47 AM

Burdock burrs are "bachelors' buttons" hereabouts... can't get more descriptive than that!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: open mike
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 03:47 PM

sticker burrs ... some nasty one are puncture vine, goat head, or jimson weed, cockle burrs, star thistle, lady's bed straw...burr chervil, etc.

some you do not find until they get stuck in a towel or clothes in the laundry ...ouch


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 06:30 PM

Local names are misleading.
One posted by Jenny S, batchelor button, is an annual flower, also called cornflower, from southern Europe, mostly with blue raylets (petals), that grows easiy, seeds to some extent, but seeds of varieties are also available fron seed sellers. The seeds do not stick to one. Proper name is Centaurea cyanus

The plants with tickseeds or beggar lice are common as weeds and socks or pants get coated with the oval seed with many little projections. Sticktights, other names- but these names applied to seeds of several plants and there os no folk agreement on the names.
See this site for a good selection-
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plmay98.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Jenny S
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 03:49 PM

Sorry Q - you are mistaken about the Bachelors' Buttons hereabouts: this is indeed a name used in certain parts of the UK for the burrs of burdock plants, since they can be used as very efficient buttons.
Centaurea cyanus is not the plant to which I refer.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:15 PM

Hi, Jenny. The names I am familiar with are those in U.S.
Many common names are different not only from Europe to America but from district to district as already noted.

I looked in earthnotes and Arcticum lappa is listed with some 24 common names including Beggar's Buttons. Another site lists batchelor's buttons as a name for that species. I have heard the species (and allies) called bur and burdock, but not ..... buttons, on this side of the water.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: tickseeds, Spanish needles, beggar lice
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:17 PM

Sorry, that should be Arctium lappa


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