State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Arctium lappa L.

  • Arctium majus Bernh., nom. illeg.
  • Arctium vulgare (Hill) Druce
  • Lappa glabra Lam., nom. illeg.
  • Lappa major Gaertn., nom. illeg.
  • Lappa officinalis All., nom. illeg.
  • Lappa vulgaris Hill, nom. nov.
  • Arctium chaorum Klokov
Vernacular Name
Greater Burdock, Gobō, Edible Burdock, Lappa, Beggar's Buttons, Thorny Burr, Happy Major
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Medicinal plant; Edible
Occurrence: Ab(A), Al, Ar, Au(A, L), Be(B, L), BH, -Bl, Br, Bu, By, Cg, Cr, Cs, Ct, Cy, Da, Es, Fe, Ga(F), Ge, Gg, Gr, Hb(E, N), He, Ho, Hs(S), Hu, It, La, Lt, Mk, Mo, No, Po, Rf(C, CS, E, K, N, NW, S), Rm, Sa, -Si(S), Sk, Sl, Sr, Su, Tu(A, E), Uk(K, U), [?Co] (EuroMed, 2018). A Eurasian species of plants in the sunflower family, cultivated in gardens for its root used as a vegetable. It has become an invasive weed of high-nitrogen soils in North America, Australia, and other regions. Greater burdock is a biennial plant, rather tall, reaching as much as 3 m (10 ft). It has large, alternating, cordiform leaves that have a long petiole and are pubescent on the underside. The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula, united in clusters. They appear in mid-summer, from July to September. The capitula are surrounded by an involucre made out of many bracts, each curving to form a hook, allowing them to be carried long distances on the fur of animals. The fruits are achenes; they are long, compressed, with short pappus hairs. These are a potential hazard for humans, horses, and dogs. The minute, sharply-pointed, bristly pappus hairs easily detach from the top of the achenes and are carried by the slightest breeze – attaching to skin, mucous membranes, and eyes where they can cause severe dermal irritation, possible respiratory manifestations, and ophthalmia. The fleshy tap-root can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) deep. This species is native to the temperate regions of the Old World, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and from the British Isles through Russia, and the Middle East to India, China, Taiwan and Japan. It is naturalized almost everywhere and is usually found in disturbed areas, especially in soil rich in nitrogen. It is commonly cultivated in Japan where it gives its name to a particular construction technique, burdock piling. The leaves of greater burdock provide food for the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the thistle ermine (Myelois circumvoluta). It was used in Europe during the Middle Ages as a vegetable, but now it is rarely used except in Italy, Brazil and Portugal, where it is known as bardana or "garduna". The root was traditionally used in Britain as a flavouring in the herbal drink dandelion and burdock, which is still commercially produced. Dried burdock roots (Bardanae radix) are used in folk medicine as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent.
Book reference
  • Кузярін О.Т. Судинні рослини території торфовища "Білогорща” (м. Львів) // Наукові основи збереження біотичної різноманітності. - 2010. - Т.1(8), №1. - С.75-90.
    View source
  • Alexander KUZYARIN, Dr, e-mail:

Taxonomic branch

Asteraceae (=Compositae)