Burdock Arctium lappa

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
greater burdock


The plant known widely as burdock has a distinctive appearance characterized by broad, heart-shaped leaves that are green on the top and whitish on the underside, creating a contrasting look. The leaves are large and can be coarse to the touch, with a wavy or undulating margin. Burdock is perhaps best known for its flowers, which are purple and grouped in globular clusters, resembling pom-poms. These flowers are prickly and give way to burrs that are known for sticking to animal fur or clothing. The plant has a robust stalk and an overall hardy appearance. The root of burdock is long, dark brown, and typically very tough.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Great Burdock, Gobo, Edible Burdock, Lappa, Beggar's Buttons, Thorny Burr, Happy Major, Clotbur.

    • Common names

      Arctium majus, Arctium minus, Lappa major, Lappa officinalis, Bardanae Radix, Bardana.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Burdock is generally considered safe and edible, especially the root, which is commonly consumed as food. There can be cases where individuals may have allergic reactions to burdock, but these are rare. There is no widespread evidence of toxicity or poisonous effects from consuming normal, food-appropriate quantities of burdock. As with any plant or herb, it is possible to experience gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed in excessive amounts or if an individual has a sensitivity to it.

    • To pets

      Burdock has not been reported to be toxic to pets. However, pets might experience digestive upset if they consume parts of the plant, such as the burrs, which could potentially cause physical obstructions or irritation. It is always best for pets to avoid ingesting non-food plants as a general safety precaution. If a pet consumes a large amount of burdock or shows any signs of distress after ingestion, contact a veterinarian for professional advice.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-7 feet (0.9-2.1 meters)

    • Spread

      2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Edible Parts: The roots, young shoots, and leaves of Arctium lappa, commonly known as burdock, can be consumed as food either cooked or raw, providing a source of nutrients.
    • Skin Care: Traditionally, the plant has been used in skin care products for its soothing properties when applied topically.
    • Natural Fiber: The stalks of burdock can be used to produce a form of natural fiber that might be utilized in crafting or textiles.
    • Horticultural Use: As a hardy biennial, burdock can be used in gardens for its large leaves and tall growth, providing structure and visual interest.
    • Companion Planting: Because it is deep-rooted, burdock can bring up nutrients from the soil for shallower-rooted plants in a practice known as companion planting.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Burdock can serve as a habitat for various insects and birds, contributing to biodiversity in an area.
    • Culinary Use: The roots of burdock have historically been used in culinary applications, particularly in Asian cuisine.
    • Dye Production: The root can yield a natural dye that has been used in traditional fabric coloring.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Arctium lappa has traditionally been used to increase urine flow.
    • Blood purifier: It is believed to help detoxify the bloodstream.
    • Skin health: The plant has been used traditionally for conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
    • Antioxidant: Contains chemicals that are thought to have antioxidant properties.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Arctium lappa may help reduce inflammation.
    • Digestive aid: It has been used to aid digestion and appetite.
    • Antimicrobial: Some compounds in the plant have been studied for their potential antimicrobial activity.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Natural fabric dye: The root of the Burdock plant can be used to produce a brownish-gray dye for coloring wool and other natural fibers.
    • Papermaking: The fibrous stalks of the Burdock can be included in the process of hand-making paper to add texture and visual interest.
    • Fishnet weights: Historically, the dried and hollowed-out stalks of Burdock were used as floats in fishing nets.
    • Bio-based plastics: Research on polymers derived from the Burdock plant's components is being conducted to create environmentally friendly plastics.
    • Potpourri ingredient: Dried Burdock leaves and roots can be added to potpourris for their texture and earthy scent.
    • Bird feed ingredient: The seeds of the Burdock plant are sometimes mixed into bird feed as a source of nutrition for birds.
    • Natural decorator: The distinct burs from Burdock can be used in floral arrangements and decorative displays for their unique appearance.
    • Vegetable leather: Innovations in textile production have explored using Burdock root fiber to create a sustainable, leather-like material.
    • Composting: Because of its high nitrogen content, Burdock makes an excellent green matter addition to compost piles to help accelerate decomposition.
    • Soil health indicator: The presence of Burdock often indicates a soil that is high in nitrogen, helping farmers and gardeners assess soil health.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Burdock is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Burdock is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: Arctium lappa, commonly known as burdock, has been used medicinally for centuries, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, symbolizing its association with healing and detoxification.
    • Protection: Burdock's burrs can cling to clothing or animal fur, which can be seen as a form of self-defense, symbolizing protection and safeguarding against negative forces.
    • Persistence: Because burdock is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult environments, it symbolizes persistence and the ability to survive in challenging conditions.
    • Purification: With its detoxifying properties, burdock is often seen as a symbol of cleansing and purification, representing the removal of negative influences from one's life.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring to summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The burdock plant requires consistent moisture but does not do well with overwatering. It is best to water the plant deeply once or twice a week, providing about 1-2 gallons per watering, depending on the size of the plant and the weather conditions. Ensure the soil is moist to a depth of at least an inch. During hot and dry spells, you might need to water more frequently to maintain soil moisture. It’s important to avoid waterlogging as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

  • sunLight

    Burdock thrives in full sun to partial shade, so a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal. They can tolerate a little shade, especially in hotter climates, but plentiful sunlight is key for optimal growth. Ensure that the chosen location is not overly shaded by taller plants or structures to take full advantage of its light requirements.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Burdock performs well in a wide range of temperatures, but its ideal growing conditions are between 50°F and 70°F. It can withstand colder conditions down to about 32°F, and while it survives in higher temperatures, extended periods above 85°F might impede its vigorous growth. This resilience makes burdock suited for growth in many environments, but it prefers the cooler temperatures of its natural temperate regions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning burdock involves removing spent flowers and any dead or damaged leaves to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from self-seeding aggressively. It's best to prune in late summer or early fall, after the plant has flowered. Regular removal of old plant material can help maintain a tidy appearance and promote healthier growth in the following season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Burdock (Arctium lappa) thrives in a well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. A mixture of garden soil, compost, and sand or perlite to improve drainage is ideal for this plant.

  • plantRepotting

    Burdock is commonly grown as a biennial and is best not repotted as it develops a long taproot. However, if necessary replant young plants yearly in early spring into a larger container before the taproot develops.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Burdock prefers average humidity levels and does not require any special humidity considerations as it is adaptable to outdoor conditions where humidity levels naturally fluctuate.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Use deep pots for burdock's taproot; ensure ample light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant burdock in sunny spot, rich soil, space well.

    • Hardiness zone

      2-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Arctium lappa, commonly known as burdock, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in the spring when soil temperatures warm. The plant develops a rosette of large, wavy leaves in its first year, focusing on establishing a strong taproot. During its second year, burdock produces a branched stem that can reach up to 1-2 meters tall, with smaller leaves and thistle-like purple flowers that bloom from early summer to mid-autumn. These flowers are pollinated by insects and eventually turn into round burrs, which facilitate seed dispersal by adhering to animal fur or human clothing. After seed dispersal in late autumn, the plant completes its biennial cycle, with the above-ground parts dying back, while new seeds overwinter and germinate the following spring. Though it completes its life cycle in two years, burdock can self-seed prolifically, ensuring continual presence in the environment.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The common name for Arctium lappa is burdock, and it is often propagated by seed. The best time to sow the seeds is in the late spring or early summer after the threat of frost has passed. This ensures that the soil is sufficiently warm for seed germination. To propagate burdock, one should sow the seeds directly into the garden bed at a depth of about 1/2 inch (approximately 1.3 centimeters). The seeds should be spaced a few inches apart in rows, and as they germinate and grow, thin out the seedlings to about 2 feet (61 centimeters) apart to allow the plants ample room to mature. Regular watering is essential during the germination and early growth stages. Burdock is best grown in well-draining soil with full sun to partial shade exposure.