- Gobo root
- Great burdock
- Beggar's button
Wikipedia Article About Burdock on Wikipedia
Burdock refers to any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Common Burdock (A. minus) grows wild throughout most of North America, Europe and Asia.
Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18" (45 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through October.
The prickly heads of these Old World weeds are noted for easily catching onto fur and clothing, thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.
A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).
The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidoptera including Brown-tail, Coleophora paripennella, Coleophora peribenanderi, The Gothic, Lime-speck Pug and Scalloped Hazel.
The green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis in humans due to the lactones the plant produces.