About This Species
Burdock is known for its clinging burrs that attach to the manes and tails of horses, cows, and sheep’s wool. This causes the animal to be unhealthy and can lowers the market value of the animal. Its burrs were the inspiration for the product named Velcro. Birds and bats can become trapped by the sticky burrs and die. Each individual plant can produce up to 16,000 seeds. It is considered a noxious weed in many regions of the province.
How to Identify
Burdock grows to 2 m tall and is an upright plant with reddish stems. Mature leaves are large, heart shaped, and have characteristically hairy undersides with toothed or wavy edges. Lower leaves can grow to 50 cm long. Pink to purple flowers bloom from July-Oct and have distinct spiny hooked leaves surrounding the flower. When flowers go to seed the burrs are round and bristly and are up to 22 mm wide.
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Preventing development of the burred seed is key to preventing its spread. Mowing or cutting is best done before flowering to eliminate seed. To completely remove this problematic plant, the large, deep taproot must be severed at least 8-10 cm below the soil surface. Re-seed bare soil where possible, and encourage desirable, competing vegetation. Most broadleaf herbicides are also useful for control.
If you need advice about invasive species on your property or you are concerned about reported invasives in your local area, contact your local municipality or regional invasive species organization.
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