Common burdock (Arctium minus)

Common Burdock

Arctium minus


  • Prefers areas with soil moisture and fertile soils, and thrives where there has been recent disturbance.
  • The prickly seed heads of common burdock are designed to attach and travel on passers-by for dispersal.
  • First year growth forms a rosette with large, hairy heart shaped leaves which shade out smaller vegetation.
  • The leaf edges are wavy and can be toothed, dark green on top and fuzzy underneath.
  • In its second year, common burdock can reach up to 3m in height. The flowers of common burdock are purple and show in short clusters along the stems.

Consequences of Invasion

  • Bats and birds can become tangled in the burrs of burdock and can to lead to death.
  • Burrs can also become stuck in the wool and hair of farm animals. If burdock does become entangled in the wool of a sheep, it devalues it.


  • Avoid soil disruption wherever possible.
  • If the soil is disturbed, re-seed and encourage the growth of competing vegetation.
  • In order to prevent the spread of burdock it is important not to let the plant go to seed. Mowing and cutting can be effective after the plant has bolted, but before it flowers.
  • When burdock is in its first year, tilling the soil can reduce growth as it is intolerant of cultivation.
  • Certain chemicals can be used on burdock, consult a professional.
  • There is currently no biological control available for common burdock.

Additional Resources:

Burdock | ISCBC

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