Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus)

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Lesser Burdock is a tall biennial, reaching as much as 3 m. The fleshy tap-root can grow up to 1m long. The stout, grooved, rough stem has multiple branches. Basal leaf stems are hollow. It has large (up to 60 cm) alternating, heart shaped leaves that have a long petiole, have very wavy margins and are pubescent on the underside. The flowers are purple, sessile or short stalked. The flower head is surrounded by a whorls of bracts, each curving to form a Velcro like hook, allowing them to be carried long distances on the fur of animals.

Key Identifiers
  • Large plant and leaves
  • Lower leaf stalks are hollow
  • Whorl of bracts under 2.5cm in diameter
  • Sessile or short stalked flowers
  • Flowers spread out along stem with very few branches
  • Velcro like hooks on bracts
Location in Canada
Lesser Burdock occurs in all Canadian Provinces from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Sometimes grown for medicinal purposes.

British Columbia Minsistry of Agriculture - Lesser Burdock
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Lesser Burdock

Similar species
Great Burdock (Arctium lappa) lower leaf stalks are solid and flower heads are more than 2.5 cm across.

Wooly Burdock (Arctium tomentosum) flower heads are less than 2.5 cm across, densely cobwebby and flowers clumped along stem with branches in groups

Great Burdock, Lesser Burdock, Woolly Burdock

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on March 29, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.