Arctium minus

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Legend for Species Pages

Common Burdock

Arctium minus
  • Moss, Flora of Alberta – Occasional
  • Global Invasive Species Database – No
  • NatureServe Rank – Medium/Insignificant
  • Haber, Upland – No
  • Haber, Wetland – No
  • CWF, Status & Invasive Range – No
  • Alberta Revegetation Guidelines – No
  • The Nature Conservancy – No
  • CBCN – No
  • AB Weed – Noxious


In willow groves, especially margins and openings on disturbed soil. Spread by, and palatable to cattle, so that cessation of graz­ing can cause a population explosion. The plant is described as a biennial, but it appears that the full life cycle is 2.5 to 3 years, with seedlings establishing one year, large leaves and build-up of root food reserves in the second, with bolting and flowering in the third.

Control is difficult. Digging is nearly impossible, since the taproot can be up to a metre long. If 2,4-D ester or amine is used early in the final year, the root sometimes forms new buds at the crown, even though the top is killed, and will still bolt to produce several flowering stems, instead of the usual one. 2,4-D ester applied after bolting, shortly before flowering, seems to kill the entire plant and prevent production of seed. However, heavily infested areas will continue to have new plants, even though seed production has been suppressed, for 15 or more years.

Edible: can be used like Arctium lappa.

Alberta Invasive Plant Council factsheet:

[1] Link to USDA Plants Profile, Arctium minus Bernh. lesser burdock

[2] Link to NatureServe I-Rank information for Arctium minus - Bernh. Lesser Burdock

[3] Link to University of Wisconsin Weed Science article including biology and management.

Arctminu 1.jpg
Arctminu 2.jpg
Photo: XID Services


Szczawinski & Turner, Edible Garden Weeds of Canada, ISBN 0-88902-752-8