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Intermediate Burdock

Arctium minus pubens

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
160 centimetres tall
Fields, hedgerows, roadsides, sand dunes, towns, wasteland, woodland.

Purple, many petals
The flower is an oval spiky flowerhead with many purple petals on top. The flower stalk is about 1 to 4cm in length. The similar Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus) has a flower stalk of less than 1cm long.
Clusters of round, prickly fruit. The fruit are called burs and have hooks attached to them. The hooks cling on to clothing when brushing past them.
The stem leaves are large, broad, triangular with wavy edges. Leaves alternate along the stems on either side. The basal rosette leaves are larger than the stem leave and measure up to 20 inches (51cm) long.
Other Names:
Pubescent Lesser Burdock, Small Burdock.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Arctium minus pubens, also known as pubescent lesser burdock or small burdock, is a subspecies of Arctium minus, a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. A. minus pubens is a biennial herb that grows to a height of up to 1.5 meters. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and small, purple or pink flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions and respiratory problems. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. A. minus pubens is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soil.


Intermediate Burdock (Arctium minus pubens) is a herbaceous biennial plant native to Europe and Asia. It is part of the Asteraceae family and is widely known for its burrs, which are tough and sticky, making them easily cling to fur, clothing, and other objects. The plant is also commonly referred to as Lesser Burdock, which is a nod to its smaller size compared to Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa).

The plant grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet and has a thick stem that is usually covered in soft, downy hairs. The leaves are large, dark green, and heart-shaped, with serrated edges. In the first year of growth, the plant produces a rosette of leaves, which remain close to the ground. In the second year, it sends up a tall stem, which bears clusters of purple flowers that bloom from July to October.

Burdock is considered an invasive species in many countries, as it quickly colonizes areas, crowding out native vegetation. Despite this, it has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, as well as for food. The roots and leaves of the plant are edible and are often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, digestive problems, and respiratory infections.

In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock is used to cleanse the blood and promote healthy liver function. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. In Europe, the plant was used as a popular folk remedy for treating various illnesses, such as fever, skin infections, and arthritis.

Burdock is also used as a food source in many cultures. The roots can be boiled, roasted, or pickled and are often used in stews, soups, and stir-fries. In Japan, the plant is known as "gobo" and is a popular ingredient in traditional dishes, such as tempura.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, intermediate burdock has also been used for its fibers. The stem fibers of the plant can be processed and used to make paper or textiles. In some cultures, the fibers are also used to make mats or baskets.

Burdock is also a popular ornamental plant due to its striking purple flowers and large leaves. It is often planted in gardens for its attractive appearance and is sometimes used in landscaping to stabilize soil and control erosion.

Another interesting fact about intermediate burdock is its relationship with honeybees. The plant's flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for bees, providing them with much-needed nutrition during the summer months. This makes burdock an important plant for beekeepers, as well as for the health and survival of wild bee populations.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that although intermediate burdock is considered invasive, it is also an important food source for many wildlife species, including rabbits, deer, and birds. The burrs provide food and shelter for a variety of small mammals and birds, and the plant's seeds are an important food source for birds in the winter months.

It's also worth mentioning that intermediate burdock has been used in cosmetics and skincare products for its therapeutic properties. The plant is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which make it ideal for nourishing and revitalizing the skin. Burdock root extract is commonly used in creams, lotions, and toners to soothe and moisturize dry skin.

In herbal medicine, intermediate burdock is often combined with other herbs to enhance its therapeutic effects. For example, it is sometimes combined with dandelion root to support healthy liver function, or with red clover to purify the blood. Burdock is also a key ingredient in traditional detoxifying remedies, as it is believed to help remove toxins and impurities from the body.

When using burdock for medicinal purposes, it's important to consult a healthcare professional, as it may interact with certain medications or medical conditions. It's also important to use high-quality, organic burdock that has been sustainably harvested.

In conclusion, intermediate burdock is a fascinating and multi-faceted plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and culture. Whether used for its medicinal properties, as a food source, or for its ornamental value, burdock is a plant that deserves to be recognized and appreciated for its many benefits. If you're interested in incorporating burdock into your health regimen or learning more about its therapeutic properties, be sure to consult a knowledgeable practitioner.