The Common Butterbur grows in wet places, especially beside streams. It is not found in the North of Scotland, but is common in the South country. The flowers appear very early in spring, before the leaves, and they are nearly withered by the time the leaves are at their best.
The flowers grow closely crowded together in cone-shaped heads, near the top of a thick fleshy stalk. These flowers are made up of tiny pink tubes with toothed edges, and there is a row of long-headed pink stamens clinging to the inside of each tiny tube. Outside the head of flowers there is a thick bundle of narrow green pointed leaves, and each little bundle of green leaves and pink tubes has a short stalk of its own.
You will notice the narrow green leaves which grow singly up this main stem. Sometimes these leaves become much broader at the tips, and when this is the case these leaf-tips are dark green and have toothed edges.
The root leaves of the Butterbur are very large. They are roughly heart-shaped with sharply cut teeth round the edge. Each leaf is dark green and smooth above, but underneath it is woolly, and the short stalk on which it grows is hollow.
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