Burdock, Lessor Burdock, Little Burdock, Common Burdock, Louse-Bur, Button-Bur, Cuckoo-Button, Wild Rhubarb
Synonyms of Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. (24) (Updated on 5-3-21: Arcion minus Bubani, Arctium batavum Arènes, Arctium conglomeratum Schur ex Nyman, Arctium euminus Syme, Arctium lappa var. minus (Hill) A.Gray, Arctium lappa var. pubens (Bab.) Fiori, Arctium lappa subsp. pubens (Bab.) P.D.Sell, Arctium melanoceps (Beger) G.H.Loos, Arctium minus subsp. batavum (Arènes) Lambinon, Arctium minus var. corymbosum Wiegand, Arctium minus f. laciniatum Clute, Arctium minus f. leucocephalum House, Arctium minus var. melanoceps Beger, Arctium minus f. pallidum Farw., Arctium minus subsp. pubens (Bab.) Arènes, Arctium montanum Schweigg. ex Steud., Arctium nemorosum var. pubens (Bab.) Fiori, Arctium pubens Bab., Bardana minor Hill, Lappa conglomerata Schur, Lappa minor Hill, Lappa minor var. pubens (Bab.) Gustave & Hérib., Lappa puberis Boreau, Lappa vulgaris var. minor (Hill) Neilr.
Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. is the correct and accepted scientific name for Burdock. It was named and described as such by Johann Jakob Bernhardi in Systematisches Verzeichnis der Pflanzen in 1800. It was first named and described as Lappa minor by John Hill in Vegetable System in 1762.
The genus, Arctium L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 44 accepted species in the Arctium genus (as of 5-3-21 when I last updated this page. It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,679 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The distribution map for Arctium minus above is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple is where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database for North America is similar and also includes Louisiana. The species may be more widespread than the maps show.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND BETTER POSITIVE ID.
There is an abundance of Arctium minus (Burdock) here on the farm in a few areas south of the pond where they are partially shaded by the Chinese Elm and Mulberry trees. When I was a kid I always thought it was some kind of wild rhubarb. Well, I guess I was partly right since Wild Rhubarb is one of its common names. Other names include Lessor Burdock, Little Burdock, Common Burdock, Louse-Bur, Button-Bur, Cuckoo-Button. Arctium minus is sometimes confused with rhubarb, which is Rheum rhabarbarum.
The hooked seeds stick in the fur of animals and on clothing which can be hard to remove. A Swiss inventor, George de Mestral, invented the hook and loop fastener after observing the seeds of Burdock. It was originally sold under the Velcro brand name.
Flowering plants are sometimes confused with the Common Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium).
Leaves can grow up to 28” long. Not commonly eaten by cows or deer, they will eat if not much else is available. I have noticed the cows here snack on the upper stems from time to time but it isn’t that common.
Arctium species flower their second year and may not reach maturity until it is four years old. Flowers provide nectar and pollen for several species of bees and butterflies.
The taproots have a sweet taste and are more favored in Asian dishes. According to the Wikipedia page, Burdock contains a fair amount of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, amino acids, and is low in calories. It contains polyphenol oxidase which causes it to darken and give it somewhat of a muddy taste. There is more information about the genus which you can read by clicking on the Wikipedia link below.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog (a continuing work in progress). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
THE NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂