Winter Plant ID: Common Burdock

Photo of Common Burdock

Plants have many ways of catching our attention.  Some have strong scents, others have bright and showy flowers, and then there are those who quite literally grab us.  For instance, take Common Burdock (Arctium minus).  The seed heads of this biennial are composed of hundreds of bracts tipped with sharp hooks, which cling tenaciously to animal fur and many types of human clothing and thereby help the plant's seeds disperse across the landscape. This strategy, along with the fact that many people enjoy eating Burdock's taproots and peeled stalks, has helped this European/Asian plant to become widely established throughout the United States.  In addition to being a food source, Common Burdock is a widely used medicinal.

Photo of Common Burdock close

4 thoughts on “Winter Plant ID: Common Burdock”

  1. Nice shot of the “hooks.” I was getting some shots of these earlier this year and got home and discovered that I had them all over me.
    I was researching burdocks for a blog post a couple of years ago and read that small birds can get stuck to them and actually die from not being able to get free. That’s something I had never heard before.

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