Cocklebur: The plant that gave us Velcro

I love it when plants give me ideas for more articles.

And that’s what happened yesterday when I wandered in the gusty winds and brilliant sunshine at Frances Slocum, looking for what I could see.

cockOne of the first things I saw was an entire plant hung tightly on the hem of my North Face parka.

I pulled it off and it was cocklebur, or clothbur, the plant that loves to hitch a ride on anything that even grazes it.

So I pulled it off and took this pic and something I had known but had almost forgotten popped into my memory. I wasn’t sure but had to check and Ssure enough this humble plant was the inspiration for Velcro.

So I went to the Velcro website and sure enough, the entire story is there.

And this of course immediately sparked the idea for a new column: plants that have inspired modern inventions. Should be fun.

From Velcro:

VELCRO® Brand Inspired by the Cocklebur In the early 1940’s Swiss inventor George de Mestral was walking with his dog through woodland when he found both his trousers and dogs coat were covered in cockleburs. George de Mestral became curious about their ability to attach to both material and fur, so he took some of the burrs home to further examine them under a microscope.

It was only under a microscope that he discovered their hook-like shape, this discovery is what started his quest to produce a unique two-sided fastener; one side with stiff “hooks” that were similar to the burrs on the cocklebur, the other side with soft “loops” resembling fabric. The two sided fastener became known as VELCRO® Brand hook and loop, named after the French words “velour” and “crochet”.

Today the Velcro companies are a technically-driven, global organization and the industry leader in hook and loop fasteners. The company, through its worldwide subsidiaries offers hundreds of different hook and loop products and fastening systems. The VELCRO® Brand continues to be the most trusted producer of hook and loop fasteners in the world, and with it’s continued commitment to development it remains the only fastener producer that you can rely on for quality


Author: luzerne2112

As I get older -- and I'm 70 now -- I seem to find more and more that nature is the true source of peace, inspiration and, most of all, the truth the passeth understanding. Though my knowledge is sketchy and superficial, I wanted to share it while I can.

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