common burdock USDA PLANTS Symbol: ARMI2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs
Arctium minus Bernh.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Asterales: Asteraceae
Synonym(s): lesser burrdock, bardane, beggar's button, burdock, common burdock, small burdock, smaller burdock, wild burdock, wild rhubarb
Native Range: Eurasia (BAIL);

Arctium minus grows up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall. It is a biennial forb that occurs throughout the United States. First year plants form large rosettes. A stout flowering stalk is formed in the second year.
Stem leaves are large, heart-shaped and very hairy on the undersides. Basal leaves are dark green, heart-shaped and up to 1 ft. (0.3 m) long.
Flowering occurs in July to October, when pink to purple flowers develop. Flowers are enclosed in a prickly bur.
One plant typically produces 15,000 seeds. It reproduces by seeds.
Ecological Threat
Arctium minus can become a problematic invader of pastures, hay fields and open prairie ecosystems. It acts as a secondary host for pathogens, such as powdery mildew and root rot, which affect economically important plants. Arctium minus is native to Europe and came to the United States via accidental introduction. Indirectly affects the development of economically important plants by hosting powdery mildew and root rot. Reduces the value of sheep’s wool due to the seed heads entangling in it. It is responsible for tainting milk products if grazed in large quantities.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,
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Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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Plant(s); Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 548.
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Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,
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EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit

State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
Craters of the Moon National Monument (Idaho)
Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Monocacy National Battlefield Park (Maryland)
Rocky Mountains National Park (Colorado)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Invasive Listing Sources:
City of Ann Arbor Michigan Parks and Recreation
Faith Campbell, 1998
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Pennsylvania.