Arctium lappa L.

Great Burdock

Erect biennial herb to 1.5 m tall, glabrous to hairy. Stems branched. Basal leaves broad-ovate, to 50 cm long and 30 cm wide, sessile. Stem leaves similar but smaller. Capitula in terminal corymbs, about 2 cm across, on stalks more than 2 cm long; summer to autumn. Florets purplish red, about as long as involucre. Achenes 6-7 mm long. Pappus of bristles 1-3.5 mm long.

Most of Europe

Grown for its edible roots which are harvested when about 60 cm long.


Similar to A. lappa is A. minus Bernh., Common Burdock, from throughout Europe which has smaller, sessile or shortly stalked capitula in leafy racemes, the terminal ones usually solitary, and pink or purplish florets that are mostly longer than the involucre.

Source: Jeanes, J. (2002). Asteraceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Asterales
family       Asteraceae
genus        Arctium L.