Species of the week: Burdock

It’s time for: Species of the Week! (A post in which I learn to identify some sort of species, take poor photographs and tell you about it. Thanks for joining me!)

This week’s species is Burdock (Arctium).

Have you ever been walking along a path, looked down at a plant with great big leaves and thought: “Huh, that really looks like rhubarb. I wonder if that’s rhubarb. It doesn’t look QUITE like rhubarb, but maybe…”?

Me too! I looked it up. It’s not.

What you’ve probably stumbled upon is Burdock.

You can best identify it by its resemblance to rhubarb.


Don’t know what rhubarb looks like? Ok, Burdock has large, heart shaped leaves (like rhubarb), with a wooly undersurface (unlike rhubarb), long hollow stalks, and a tall branched stem with burs at the top for part of the season. The burs cling to clothing and animal fur, in order to spread seeds. (Pet owners and those with curly hair beware!)

Interesting things about Burdock:

  • The burrs from Burdock were the inspiration for Velcro! Remember that the next time you’re putting on your little one’s shoes.
  • Burdock roots and stalks are edible, and fairly popular in Japanese dishes.
  • Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink in the British Isles.






Posted on June 20, 2013, in Species of the week and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I live in northern New Mexico, and had a big, somewhat uncontrollable growth of burdock when I first came here. Then the gophers found it, and literally pulled it all down into their burrows, so now I have none! They must think it’s great too!

    Liked by 1 person

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