Botanical Name: Arctium lappa L.
Burdock tends to enjoy spreading out, often overtaking borders and roadsides, and grows quite well in Northern climates. The flowers of this plant are known as “burs” and cling to anything they touch. The Swiss electrical engineer Georges de Mestral actually came up with the idea for Velcro after watching his wool socks and dog’s fur accumulate burdock burs. Herbalists consider this herb supportive for the blood and lymph. The root’s somewhat bitter qualities can influence digestion and appetite. The plant is also known to support healthy skin and complexion, through promoting liver function and the body’s detox process.
This plant grows well for us and is considered a weed by friends of ours in Vermont. The plant’s carrot-like taproot can grow as long as three feet into the ground. We harvest this plant in its first year, because in the second year it puts energy into its burrs rather than its root.
The fresh root is known primarily for its culinary capability, and is delicious sautéed, boiled or otherwise incorporated into meals. We enjoy preparing cold infusions, decoctions or tincturing the dried root.