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Arctium minus

A child could hide in a common burdock leaf.

Common burdock emerging in corn field.

Common burdock seeds.

  • The genus name Arctium was derived from the Greek word for 'bear' and likely refers to the scruffy, brown look of the burs.

  • Common burdock fruit and roots were used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from coughs asthma, venereal diseases, rheumatism, lung and skin diseases, and scurvy.

  • Velcro was inspired by the tiny hooks on the burs of this plant that stick to fur and clothing, similar to the sticky side of Velcro.

  • Burs often stick to sheep reducing the value of the wool.

  • The foliage can give milk a bitter taste if eaten in large enough quantities by cattle.

  • Common burdock is reported to have a high mineral and vitamin content and is commonly found in health food stores in pill form.

  • Native Americans used burdock roots as food in winter. The root of a related burdock species is widely cultivated in Japan as a vegetable and is known as 'gobo'.