common burdock

(Arctium minus)

Conservation Status
common burdock
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Common burdock is a 2 to 4½ tall, rarely taller, erect, biennial forb that rises on a single stem from a fleshy taproot. In its first year of growth this produces a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it produces a hollow stalk that is branched, hairy, and ridged.

Basal leaves are large, heart shaped and indented at the base where they attach to long leaf stalks. They are 12 to 24 long and 6 to 14 wide. The leaf stalk is 6 to 20 long, hollow at least at the base, and not grooved. The upper surface is green with sparse short hairs. The lower surface is light green or gray-green, with a thin covering of matted, short, soft, woolly hairs. The leaf margins are wavy. By the time the flowers are fully open the basal leaves are usually withered.

Stem leaves are much smaller, alternate, and egg-shaped, getting progressively smaller toward the top of the stem. They are nearly hairless on both the upper and lower surfaces.

Flower heads appear in a clusters at the end of the stem and in the upper leaf axils. The clusters are crowded and densely packed.

The flower heads have about 30 purple, pink, or, sometimes, white florets, are on short stalks or on no stalks at all. The whorl of overlapping bracts subtending the flower head is ½ to 1 in diameter and hairless. The bracts are hooked at the tip. When dry the flower head becomes a bur resembling a thistle. Thistles, however, do not have hooked bracts.




2 to 4½, rarely taller


Flower Color


Purple, pink, or, sometimes, white


Similar Species


Woolly burdock (Arctium tomentosum) leaf margins are flat or only slightly wavy. The flower heads are densely cobwebby. The inflorescence is a group of stalked flower heads with the outer ones on longer stalks, forming a flat-topped or convex cluster.

Great burdock (Arctium lappa) leaf stalks, including near the base of the plant, are mostly solid and are deeply grooved. The flower heads are on long stalks. The inflorescence is a group of long-stalked flower heads with the outer ones on longer stalks, forming a flat-topped or convex cluster. The heads are larger, 1 to 1½ in diameter.


Disturbed sites, roadsides.




July to October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.




Native to Northern Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. Introduced and naturalized in the United States. Potentially invasive.





  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Carduoideae (thistles and allies)  
  Tribe Cardueae  
  Subtribe Carduinae (thistles and burdocks)  
  Genus Arctium (burdocks)  

Cardueae is a synonym of the tribe name. Cynareae was published first and has precedence. Nevertheless, most sources use the name Cardueae for the tribe.


Subordinate Taxa






Arctium pubens

Lappa minor


Common Names



beggar’s button




common burdock


lesser burdock

lesser burrdock

small burdock

smaller burdock

wild burdock

wild rhubarb













The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

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Leah Starks

    common burdock      

Bill Reynolds

    common burdock      


    common burdock   common burdock  
    common burdock   common burdock  
    common burdock   common burdock  


    common burdock   common burdock  
    common burdock   common burdock  

Flower Heads

    common burdock   common burdock  


    common burdock   common burdock  



  Arctium minus
Matt Lavin
  Arctium minus  

Introduced biennial to short-lived perennial similar to Arctium lappa but perhaps standing upwards of just over 1 m tall, with basal leaves up to 20 cm long, flowering heads 15-30 mm wide and arranged in panicles of spikes. Arctium species do well in sites that are frequently disturbed.

  Common Burdock (Arctium minus)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Common Burdock (Arctium minus)  
  Arctium minus | Lesser Burdock (Part 1 of 2)

Uploaded on Feb 5, 2012

Visit Website:

Photos used under protection of the "fair use" section (107) of the U.S. copyright act of 1976.

  Arctium minus | Lesser Burdock (Part 2 of 2)

Uploaded on Feb 5, 2012

Visit Website:

Photos used under protection of the "fair use" section (107) of the U.S. copyright act of 1976.




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Other Videos
  Common Burdock / Arctium minus

Published on Jan 8, 2013

  Lesser Burdock (Arctium Minus) - 2012-07-14

Published on Jul 16, 2012

Lesser burdock (Bardane, Common burdock, Lesser burrdock).

De gewone klit (Arctium minus) is een vaste plant, die tot de composietenfamilie (Asteraceae) behoort.




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  Leah Starks

Location: Red Oak Disc Golf Park Burnsville, MN

common burdock  
  Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington County

common burdock  

Afton State Park

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Banning State Park

Beaver Creek Valley State Park

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Big Woods Heritage Forest WMA

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Blue Devil Valley SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Boot Lake SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Bur Oak WMA

Camden State Park

Cannon River Turtle Preserve SNA

Cannon River Wilderness Area

Carley State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA

Chimney Rock SNA

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Clinton Falls Dwarf Trout Lily SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosstown West Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Crystal Spring SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Edward Velishek Memorial WMA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Flandrau State Park

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes Preserve

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Greenleaf Lake SRA

Greenwater Lake SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hampton Woods WMA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jay Cooke State Park

John A. Latsch State Park

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kasota Prairie

Keller Regional Park

Kilen Woods State Park

King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

La Salle Lake SNA

Laible Woods

Lake Byllesby Regional Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

Miesville Ravine Park Reserve

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Black Dog Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Long Meadow Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit

Monson Lake State Park

Moose Lake State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Ottawa Bluffs Preserve

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

P.N. and G.M. Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Partch Woods SNA

Phelps Lake WMA

Pilot Knob

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Rice Lake State Park

Ripley Esker SNA

Ritter Farm Park

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Rockville County Park

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sakatah Lake State Park

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Sedan Brook SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Seven Springs WMA

Sheepberry Fen

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Lake Regional Park

Springbrook Nature Center

Staffanson Prairie

Sunfish Lake Park

Swedes Forest SNA

Tamarack Nature Center

Thompson County Park

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Townsend Woods SNA

Tribute WMA

Vermillion Highlands Research Recreation and WMA

Vermillion River WMA

Westwood Hills Nature Center

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Wolsfeld Woods SNA

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodbury WMA

Woodland Trails Regional Park

Zumbro Falls Woods SNA







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