Arctic Butterbur Seeds (Petasites frigidus)
Also known as arctic coltsfoot, this is not so much a meadow plant, but a different kind of creature entirely. It’s a large leafy thing (roughly reminiscent of rhubarb). It’s an inhabitant of moist, shaded ground with a high water table, seeps or springs.
Arctic butterbur is one of those plants that occurs across the northern hemisphere in cool, damp climates. Among the Ainu people of northern Japan and the Siberian islands, butterburs were traditionally thought to provide the leafy homes to a mysterious race of miniature forest people in ancient times (the Korpokkur).
Like the closely related – but non-native – Japanese fuki (Petasites japonicus), arctic butterbur stalks can be used as an edible vegetable and medicinal plant but all butterburs require special preparation to remove toxic alkaloids.
Most unexpectedly, arctic butterbur produces strangely large flowerheads consisting of a heavy crown of compound blossoms atop a thick central stalk. These flowers dry down to create otherworldly fluffballs of seed, rather like an enormous dandelion. There is nothing subdued, undramatic, or ordinary about this forest-edge plant.
0.5 grams (approximately 100 seeds)