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Contact with and handling of burs (the flowering heads or infructescences) from the greater burdock (Arctium lappa L., Asteraceae) and other members of the same genus, is a potential hazard for humans, horses, and dogs. The minute, sharply-pointed, bristly pappus hairs easily detach from the top of the 'seeds' and are carried by the slightest breeze – attaching to skin, mucous membranes, and eyes where they can cause severe dermal irritation, possible respiratory manifestations, and ophthalmia.
This is a case study on plant material of burdock (Arctium lappa L., Asteraceae) collected in the wild for a PhD research project at Heidelberg University, Germany.