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

Category:

Biennials

Vegetables

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

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

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Blue-Violet

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Herbaceous

Smooth-Textured

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:

Non-patented

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

Regional

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

Niagara Falls, New York

Glouster, Ohio

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

De Leon, Texas

Trenton, Utah

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
3
neutrals
3
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On May 3, 2015, Scribbles646 from Troup, TX wrote:

Commonly found on field and forest edges, particularly the moist areas. The young leaf steams are edible while still light green, as they get older the stems develop a red color and get fibrous and bitter, the young green stems are a yearly treat if you have access to lots of them, they are quite good batter dipped and fried. Foragers and survivalists may find use of the leaves to wrap wild food for open fire cooking. The roots of the older plants are said to be edible.

Negative

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." http://www.wihumane.org/wildlife/burdock.aspx

Neutral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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