Is it a Weed?
Many think of this plant as a weed and indeed it does readily grow on rough ground and by the roadside edges, waste ground and also in open woodland, however the purple thistle like flowers that are splendidly large, being 3/4 inches (2 cm) in width are really very pretty.
Out of each flower projects a deep purple column of fused stamens, the male, pollen producing organ. When the flowering cycle is over, the flower heads dry out to form the burr. The burrs last through the winter, sowing the enclosed seeds very cleverly by attaching themselves to passing animals or humans.
The Lesser Burdock is a biennial, its purple flowers showing in its second year of growth
The first syllable of the plants name Bur - comes from the French word "bourre", (originating from the Latin "burra" ) meaning a lock of wool, a reference which may have started out as sheep can often get the "burrs" of this plant caught in their coats.
The second part of the name the English "dock" referring to the extremely huge large leaves.
The lesser burdoch has many common names such as beggar's buttons, clot-bur, cocklebur, fox's clote,happy major, hardock, personata, and gypsy's or Robin Hood's rhubarb.
During the Middle Ages, burdock was believed to be very valuable in the treatment of diseases and common ailments.
Also in the middle ages knights often rode into battle with a sprig of burdock, which was said to protect and promote healing, particularly of the feet.
A charm of burdock root, gathered under a waning moon and strung around the neck was also said to ward away evil influences.
Herbalists Use Lesser Burdock
Nowadays the burdock root is used by herbalists as a blood purifiers, and for treating chronic skin problems, eczema.
Consumed as Tea
Burdock can be either consumed in tea or capsule form, or applied externally.
It is said to help digestion, assist in getting rid of kidney stones, be good for the liver and also improves hair growth as well as help with rheumatics.
The broad leaves are huge, up to 50cm. The wavy leaves are spade-shaped or oval and are connected to the main stalk
by short hollow stems.
The stalks are hairy. The undersides tend to be whitish green and slightly woolly.
The leaves look somewhat similar to that of rhubarb leaves, though they aren't as shiny as rhubarb leaves.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|