Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board
This web site will help you identify & control noxious weed with information and photographs to aid you.

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Common Burdock
Arctium minus                      
Sunflower family

Key identifying traits

  • Large, alternate leaves broadest at the leaf base-they resemble rhubarb leaves
  • Erect, multi-branched coarse stems in 2nd year
  • Numerous, inconspicuous purple flowers mostly at branch ends
  • Marble sized burs are covered with many slender, hooked spines that gave rise to the idea for ‘Velcro’
  • Stout, solid fibrous stems and tap root are so tough they are difficult to cut

Biology and ecology

  • A biennial growing 3 to 10 feet tall in 2nd year
  • First year leaves are thickly hairy on underside
  • Second year leaves wrinkled, wavy & less hairy
  • Found on roadsides, ditch-banks, next to streams, in pastures and in waste areas
  • Stout plant skeletons with burs are still evident the next year after growth
  • Burs spread by clinging to clothing and animals


Prevention – Learn to identify plants; know your property; beware of fill dirt and seed from outside your area and clean and properly dispose of burs from domestic animals and clothing

Biological – None known to date

Cultural – Good vegetative cover helps lessen infestation potential but won’t completely stop it

Mechanical – Will not stand repeated cultivation, cutting, digging and pulling are difficult but effective; properly bag and dispose mature burs

Chemical – Several effective at label rates; adjuvants increase up-take and effectiveness.  Refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook for specific chemical recommendations

the "burs" after flowering

leafy plants with flowering stalks

Where found –
Scattered throughout Stevens County in favorable habitat with greatest growth and bur production under favorable moisture availability conditions. More and more patches showing up in city lots and alleys.

MSdoc     pdf
Last Edit: March 25, 2015

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