common burdock

Common Names: bardane, beggar’s button, common burdock, lesser
burdock. wild burdock. wild rhubarb

Native Origin: Europe

Description: Common burdock is a biennial in the Aster family
(Asteraceae). In the first year of growth the plant forms a rosette. The
second year the plant is erect. The stout, grooved, rough stem has multiple
branches, and grows to 2-6 feet tall. The large heart-shaped leaves are
alternate, dark green, smooth above, whitish green, and woolly-hairy
beneath. The flowers are pink, lavender, purple or white in numerous heads,
¾ inch across. The head is enclosed in a prickly bur composed of numerous
smooth or woolly bracts tipped with hooked spines, flowering July to
October. One plant typically produces 15,000 seeds. It reproduces by seeds.
Large thick taproots branch out in all directions.

Habitat: It grows along roadsides, ditch banks, stream banks, old fields, waste places, and neglected areas.
It can be found in full or partial shade.

Distribution: This species is reported from states shaded on Plants
Database map. It is reported invasive in CO, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, OH, OR, PA,
SC, TN, VA, WA, WI, WV, and WY.

Ecological Impacts: Indirectly affects the development of economically
important plants by hosting powdery mildew and root rot. Reduces the value
of sheep’s wool due to the seed heads entangling in it and significantly
damage the quality of the wool. It is responsible for tainting milk products if
grazed in large quantities.

Control and Management:
• Manual- Dig up small infestations, remove all root fragments; frequent mowing at
a height of 2” for several years helps control the plant, but can set back native
plants. Note: Control burns are not recommended because they increase seed
germination and promote seedling establishment
• Chemical- It can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available
general use herbicides such as clopyralid, glyphosate, or triclopyr. Follow label and
state requirements.

• Natural enemies- One fungal associate, Erysiphe betae and seven species of
arthropods are reported to occur on Lotus including one bug and six

Czarapata, Elizabeth J. Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest, An Illustrated Guide to their Identification and
Control, 2005 p. 64-65,


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