Arctium minus

Burdock

Family: Asteraceae

Origin: Eurasia

A hand holding a stalk of burdock.
The flower heads have hooks that cling to clothes and wool.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Bushy, much-branched, thistle-like biennial forb < 1.5m tall. Leaves are < 50 cm long. Flowers are spiky green spheres with pink/purple centres and bracts that become hooked when dry, and are borne January – April. Seeds are attached to pappus.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell burdock within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant burdock within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any burdock on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Habitats

Forest margins, scrub, creek beds, pasture, gardens, wasteland, open and disturbed sites.

Dispersal

Seeds dispersed by wind, water, attachment to animals and humans.

Impact on environment

Burs contaminate sheep wool and injure livestock. Taints milk if foraged in large quantities. Reservoir for fungal diseases that could impact horticultural plants. Can cause contact dermatitis and toxic seed hairs may be irritating to pets and humans.

Control

Site Management

Maintaining good pasture cover will suppress an infestation. Mowing before flowering will reduce spread of burs. Control is most effective on first year rosettes.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds (burs).

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.

Biocontrol

Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 10ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

The burdock plant with small purple flowers on burrs.
Pink/purple flower heads form in clusters at the ends of branches.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team
A bush of burdock.
Up to 1.5 m tall upright, with multiple branches.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team
A stalk of burdock with dried flowers next to a pen.
The burs have hooked spikes on the seed head.
Photo credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy Wildland Invasive Species Team