Common burdock

June 5, 2015

Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. Asteraceae (Aster family)

Life cycle


common burdock young common burdock mature
Young common burdock plant (left). Mature common burdock plant (right).


Plant forms a large-leaved basal rosette in the first year. Leaves are large, alternate, wavy and broadest at the base with hollow petioles. The upper leaf surface is dark green; the undersurface is light green and woolly.


Hollow, hairy, grooved stems elongate from the rosette during the second year. Stems are branched and can grow to 5 feet tall.

Flowers and fruit

Purple flower heads are encircled by hook-like bracts that dry to form a bur. The seed is enclosed in the burs, which make dissemination easy by attaching to fur or clothing.

common burdock flowers and fruit
Common burdock flowers and fruit.



Print a PDF of this page: Common burdock

Back to identifying field weeds.

Other Documents in this Series

You Might Also Be Interested In

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at