Burdock - Artium spp.

Description: These biennial invasive plants were introduced into North America from Eurasia and can grow to 3 m tall. They have highly branched stems ending in clusters of rounded purple flowerheads. Burdock has a large fleshy taproot.

Type: biennial

Habitat & Impacts: Burdock is found in forests and grasslands in moist nutrient rich soils. It is often found in ditch lines and other disturbed sites and it can become a problem in riparian areas once established. Livestock will readily graze burdock, but if ingested in sufficient quantities it can render milk unpalatable. Burdock seeds can become matted in the hair of livestock and can decrease the value of sheep wool. Burdock is also a strong diuretic and has been listed as a poisonous plant in some areas.

Method of Spread: Seed is the only method of spread and each plant may produce up to 16,000 seeds. The seeds develop hooked spines that readily catch on fur, feathers or clothing thereby potentially transporting them a considerable distance.

Location: Currently it is found throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast including a number of sites in the Bella Coola Valley.

Management Options:

Mechanical: Mowing or cutting can be used to reduce seed production. This should be done after the plant has bolted and before it flowers. Burdock does not tolerate repeated cultivation.

Chemical: A range of chemicals can be used to treat burdock including 2,4-D and glyphosate.

Biocontrol: There is no biocontrol agent available for burdock.

CCCIPC Priority & Treatment Strategy: Priority 3 (established)

Treatment Options:

Local Level - repeated cutting to eliminate seed production or herbicide.

Landscape Level – monitor and treat local infestations in conjunction with other species, such as on private land and within municipal areas.

Mature Burdock plants.

Burdock flower.

Burdock rosette.


Invasive species profile taken from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee Invasive Plant Regional Strategic Plan

Page last modified: October 30, 2018 09:44:02 PDT