Arctium lappa

Eurasian burdock with purple flowers & hooked bracts

Arctium lappa great burdock

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously

This is an alien burdock species from Eurasia. It is a biennial plant. The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula or clusters. The hook-like bracts at the base of the flower head become burrs on the seed that allow them to be carried long distances on animal fur or clothing. These are much larger than those of the common burdock (Arctium minus). The flowers have longer stalks and are fewer in number and concentrated in flat-topped clusters. The lower leaves have solid stalks with a groove on the upper surface. The leaves are hairy underneath and alternate on the stem.

The plant grows 4-9 feet high and grows on roadsides and other waste places, mostly in alkaline soils. Otherwise it has many features in like that of the common burdock. It is found in southern Canada and in the much of north central, northeastern and western United States. It blooms from July to October. It is sometimes called the greater burdock, lappa, or beggar’s buttons.

The leaves are still commonly used as a food in Japan, Korea, Italy, Brazil and Portugal. The root is rich in calcium, potassium, and amino acids and is low-calorie. The root is crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor. The burdock was commonly used in folk and herbal medicine.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Occasionally naturalized along floodplains and roadsides.

Present throughout the state, with bigger populations in the east.

Wetland code: Not classified

Flowers from July to September.

Arctium lappa great burdock

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously
Arctium lappa gallery
Plant Life-Form
perennial forb
Common Names
great burdock