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Similar but less problematic plants:
Echinacea purpurea Echinacea purpurea
Liatris Flowers of L. spicata
Arctium minus is often confused with:
Arctium lappa Close up of globe-like inflorescence.
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Verbena canadensis Verbena canadensis
Ocimum basilicum Ocimum basilicum
Impatiens hawkeri Impatiens hawkeri

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ARK-tee-um MY-nus
Description

Common Burdock is a weedy, biennial, herbaceous wildflower belonging to the Aster family. Native to Europe, it is now widely distributed in many parts of the world. Accidentally introduced to the U.S., it is tenacious and aggressively invades disturbed areas, empty lots, parks, roadsides, prairies, fields and pastures. This plant is on the Federal USDA list of Introduced, Invasive and Noxious Plants and is found across most of North America. Some states list this plant as invasive, but North Carolina is not yet one of them. Once established, growth is difficult to eradicate due to deep tap roots and copious amounts of seed that disperse widely and remain viable for a long while even if plants are destroyed. A single plant can produce 15,000 seeds. Robust growth potentially competes with beneficial native species. The first year's growth forms a short, dense rosette of leaves. In its second year, it bolts to heights 3-6 feet, develops very large heart-shaped leaves, pink to purple thistle-like flowers on branched stems, and slender tap roots growing to depths of one foot. Clusters of purple flowerheads are arranged on short stalks on the upper ends of stems. Flowerheads consist of many disk florets and globular bracts terminating in fine, sharp hooks forming prickly burs that aid in seed dispersal by latching onto animals, birds, or hay bales. Burs are very difficult to remove and reportedly have killed small birds and bats that become entangled. Fruits (achenes) within these burs contain sharp, minute bristles (pappas hairs) that easily become windborne and, if exposed to them, can cause severe eye, skin, and respiratory irritation and/or infection in humans, dogs, horses or other livestock. In dairy animals, Common Burdock may taint milk if ingested in sufficient quantity. The pollen from the blooms is collected by bumblebees, honeybees, Miner bees and Leaf-cutting bees, who also feast on the nectar.  The foliage is a food source for the caterpillar of the Painted Lady butterfly. It prefers full sun locations with moist, well drained soil rich in organic matter and nitrogen. It may host root rot and powdery mildew, potentially impacting agricultural crops. In Asia and other parts of the world, Common Burdock has been cultivated for for its edible roots and stems and medicinal uses. Cultivated plants are sown from seed in summer and first-year roots are harvested by late autumn before becoming too fibrous.  After peeling away the outer husk of young stems, the pith can be eaten as a vegetable.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This plant is weedy, invasive and difficult to eradicate once established.   It is susceptible to powdery mildew and root rot with potential to impact agricultural plants.  Burs and bristles may cause severe eye, skin or respiratory problems in humans, dogs, horses, and other livestock.  Burs are difficult to remove from animals and clothing.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#fall flowers#lavender#biennial#weed#edible weed#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#aggressive#herbaceous#summer flowers#bracts#fields#globular#old fields#lavender flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#fall flowers#lavender#biennial#weed#edible weed#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#aggressive#herbaceous#summer flowers#bracts#fields#globular#old fields#lavender flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Arctium
    Species:
    minus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant has been used in Europe and Asia as a food source (roots and leaves) as well as for medicinal purposes.
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Native to Europe, Middle East, Baltic States and North Africa
    Distribution:
    Europe, Asia, North Africa, Canada and South America. In the U.S. it is found in the lower 48 states except Florida.
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, butterflies and skippers are attracted.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Primarily the roots are edible. Young leaves and immature flower stalks are also edible before flowers appear.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Achenes are oblong and have fine, minute bristles (pappas hairs) on one end that soon fall off and easily become airborne. These can be seriously irritating to humans or other mammals (particularly dogs, horses, or livestock) if exposed to eyes, skin, or the respiratory tract.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Pink to purple flowerheads are approximately 3/4-1 inch in size and arranged on stalks. Flowerheads are comprised of many disk florets and needle-thin bracts that terminate in a sharp, hooked tip. There are no ray florets on the flowerhead. After flowers whither, the globular bracts turn brown and enclose the flowers, forming a spiked bur covered with looped ends. This design is highly effective in clinging to animals, birds or clothing and aids in dispersal of seed. Burs may be very difficult to remove.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are very large, up to 2 feet long by 1.5 feet wide, and heart-shaped (like "elephant ears") with wooly hairs on the underside. The largest leaves are at the base of the plant and decrease in size progressing upward along the stem. Lower leaves have hollow stalks (petioles) with a groove on the upper surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Young stems have white hairs, resembling cobwebs. Second year stems are green or reddish green, stout, smooth with longitudinal veins, and round or slightly ridged in cross section.
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy