Arctium lappa - Great Burdock

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Great Burdock, closeup of flowers

This prickly wildflower is not in fact a member of the dock family; it belongs to the daisy family, Asteraceae. Great Burdock blooms from July until September, and these tall, branching plants are generally found in shady places or on waste ground. Typically, the plant grows to a height of 1.5 to 3 metres, with flower heads between 25 mm and 40 mm in diameter. The seed heads, or burs, have hooked bracts and become attached to the fur of animals; in this way the seeds are distributed.

Great Burdock, Hampshire UK

Another burdock that you will find throughout the UK is the Lesser Burdock, Arctium minus. It is very similar to Great Burdock, but has somewhat smaller flowers with florets that are noticeably longer than the surrounding bracts.


The specific epithet lappa means 'burr'.

The plant shown on this page was photographed in Hampshire, UK.

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