General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Biennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Plant Height: 24 - 60 inches
Plant Spread: 18 - 24 inches
Leaves: Other: Distinctive large leaves, similar to rhubarb (20 inches long, 12 inches wide)
Flowers: Other: 2nd year... kind of looks like a bull thistle without the spines
Flower Color: Purple
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Inflorescence Height: up to 5 feet
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Dynamic Accumulator: Mn (Manganese)
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Other info: 15000 seeds per plant is average, can number in the hundred of thousands
Pollinators: Self
Moths and Butterflies
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Common names
  • Common Burdock
  • Lesser Burdock
  • Stick Button
  • Cuckoo Button
  • Wild Rhubarb
  • Hard Dock
  • Cockle Button
  • Burr Barr
  • Beggar Button
  • Barbane
  • Burdock

Photo Gallery
Location: Murray, Utah, United States
Date: 2018-04-11
Location: Murray, Utah, United States
Date: 2018-04-11
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland UK
Date: 2023-08-08
Location: Front Entrance Shade Garden
Date: Mid to later summer

Medicinal Plant - A Good Thing

Date: 2021-09-13
Location: Passieflorahoeve
Date: 2021-08-07
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2022-06-24
mature plant

I was curious!
Location: Passieflorahoeve
Date: 2021-08-07
Location: Passieflorahoeve
Date: 2021-08-07
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-10-13
young plant
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-08-04
Location: Perelman Park, Manheim Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-07-26
Location: Late summer
Now I know what this is.
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-07-30
Location: Indiana zone 5
Date: 2013-08-12

Date: 2021-07-15
Location: East Sussex, UK.
Date: 2013-08-11
A much used herb in parts of the UK!
Location: Lancaster County Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-07-21
Location: Nature reserve, Gent, Belgium
Date: 2013-07-10
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-08-01
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-08-01
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-08-23
about to bloom
Location: Perelman Park, Manheim Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-07-26

credit: Alberto Salguero

Date: August
credit: John Cameron

Date: 2003-07-20
Steven J. Baskauf

Date: 2003-07-20
Steven J. Baskauf
  • Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Jun 4, 2013 8:03 PM concerning plant:
    While this plant is listed as a medicinal herb It is considered by most farmers as a very pesky weed. Burdock in a pasture cause much trouble. The plant is large and takes up valuable grazing space, the burr ingested by animals causes choking, and sticks to any fur or hair.

    Native to Europe and Northern Asia.
    It is the large tap root that is mostly used in herbal medicine.

    Cutting the plant out with a sharp spade and then sprinkling the remaining tap root with a bit of salt will keep it from growing back
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Sep 15, 2016 10:04 PM concerning plant:
    Burdock's burrs were the inspiration for Velcro.
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Dec 19, 2012 3:46 AM concerning plant:
    Be careful and alert if you have Burdock growing in your yard or garden, as birds have gotten stuck on the burrs and aren't able to free themselves and die. I once read an article in a bird magazine that focused on this. Pretty sure it was Bird Watchers Digest years ago. Heart wrenching! I had tears in my eyes as I read.

    Whenever I see anything in my yard and garden that even looks like a burr, I get rid of it (burrs and plant). I feed the songbirds daily, year round and don't want anything to happen to them.

  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jun 26, 2022 2:35 PM concerning plant:
    Every so often I have brushed against this large, coarse forb from East Asia and had the burs attach to my clothing. Sort of hard to totally pull off. This is one of about 6 species in a genus of the Aster-Sunflower Family of the Old World. This is the only one species that I have seen occasionally growing in rich soils in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, though it has invaded all other lower 48 states. It is a biennial that produces only from seed. It bears its large to about 1 foot long leaves the first year and produces the flowering stalk the second. The rounded flower heads are composed of small disc flowers purplish above and then a green area lower down of hooked bristles to form a bur about 1/2 inch long. The oblong dark seeds are flattish with a lengthwise ridge. The plant forms a fleshy, thick, deep white taproot that lives over one winter. The plant easily resprouts from this huge root if cut down. The Japanese cultivate the plant as a vegetable to harvest the roots of young plants. Livestock rarely eat the toxic, rank-smelling foliage. I look upon it as an invasive weed that is found in some spots.

« Add a new plant to the database

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by KGFerg and is called "Gleditsia 'Sunburst'"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.