Arctium lappais a large, burr-producing herb that is a part of the sunflower family. Characterized by its enormous heart shaped leaves and towering stalks, burdock is commonly found throughout North America. The fresh or dried roots are collected and used in cooking, tincture making, and herbal tea blends.
Burdock grows clusters of large, purple flowers in mid-summer. The fruit is covered in tiny hooked hairs or burrs, that often stick to animals and people upon contact. A robust and adaptable plant, burdock does well in any light and most soil types, although it does prefer a nitrogen rich environment.
Burdock seeds should be stratified and sown directly outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. It takes one to two weeks for sprouts to emerge and seedlings grow very quickly. Young starts should be spaced at least 18 inches apart and watered during dry spells. Roots can be harvested once the plant is three months to a year in age, but after two years, the roots are often too bitter and fibrous for use.