Arctium lappa

Common Names: Greater burdock, gobō, edible burdock, lappa, beggar's buttons, thorny burr, happy major
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Aster family

A biennial plant, rather tall, reaching as much as 3 m. It has large, alternating, cordiform leaves that have a long petiole and are pubescent on the underside. The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula, united in clusters. The capitula are surrounded by an involucre made out of many bracts, each curving to form a hook, allowing them to be carried long distances on the fur of animals. The fruits are achenes; they are long, compressed, with short pappuses. The fleshy tap-root can grow up to 1 m deep.

Found in waste areas, roadsides, meadows, and other places where weeds are common. Flowers appear in mid-summer, from July to September.

Primary Flower Color: Pink
Secondary Flower Color: White
Edible Notes: Burdock root is a common vegetable in Japan. It can be eaten cooked, raw and used as a flavor in British soda. Look for Dandelion and Burdock soda in gourmet and natural food stores. Also, look for fresh burdock root in the produce isle of many supermarkets and gourmet food stores. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear. The taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.