Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Common Burdock, Lesser Burdock
Arctium minus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arctium (ARK-tee-um) (Info)
Species: minus (MY-nus) (Info)

Synonym:Arctium nemorosum
Synonym:Arctium pubens
Synonym:Lappa minor

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By TuttiFrutti
Thumbnail #1 of Arctium minus by TuttiFrutti

By creekwalker
Thumbnail #2 of Arctium minus by creekwalker

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Thumbnail #3 of Arctium minus by creekwalker

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Thumbnail #4 of Arctium minus by Bugbear

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By DMersh
Thumbnail #7 of Arctium minus by DMersh

There are a total of 10 photos.
Click here to view them all!


1 positive
3 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative plant_it On May 26, 2011, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Tap root can go to 4ft, hard to get rid of. Little redeeming value to wildlife. Deer will browse this plant only if no other food is available. Burs stick to clothes, animal fur and can even be fatal to birds: "Common Burdock (Arctium minus) is an invasive, exotic plant that can be deadly to small birds like kinglets, warblers and bats. Burdocks burrs act like Velcro to trap birds and bats unfortunate enough to come in contact with them."

Neutral DMersh On Jul 21, 2009, DMersh from Perth
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

Quite common in the UK, it seems to do particularly well on disturbed ground, reaches about six feet high.

Positive eatmyplants On Mar 12, 2009, eatmyplants from Comanche county, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant doesn't seem to get many good reviews, but the second year stalks and that deep taproot are very tasty, sort of like a potato. Great survival food, one of nature's many wonderful gifts.

Negative Malus2006 On Feb 19, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This species pop up rarely in gardens but are more frequent in wide open spaces, especially roadsides. They seem to like woodland edges - have large coarse leaves that look like rhubarb but feel like sandpaper. This plant can even survive in infrequently mown lawns and occidently even in frequently mown lawns. The flowers look like thistle but no other plant species have such large leaves combined with flowers. This is a vicious plant - I have read articles of birds and bugs getting stuck in the flowerheads and died - the green part of the flowers have sticky or barbed hairs that can get entangled in feathers and grab onto bugs. Don't grow it - there are better large leaf plants that is not so rough to the touch.

Negative buzzbuzz77 On Jun 25, 2007, buzzbuzz77 from Urbana, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Ugh...this weed has taken over a large moist area of my yard. It's very aggressive, hard to eradicate (taproot is impossible to fully remove), chokes out everything around it, and produces tons of "stickers" that just produce more plants next year if not removed. I swear they grow 2-3" a day in the summer!

Neutral frostweed On Nov 28, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Common Burdock, Lesser Burdock Arctium minus is Naturalized in Texas and other States.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 21, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Don't confuse the leaves with the poison leaves of rhubarb.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brookfield, Illinois
Savoy, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Warren, Indiana
Cumberland, Maryland
Cummaquid, Massachusetts
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Glouster, Ohio
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
De Leon, Texas
Trenton, Utah
Spokane, Washington

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