Even though Burdock’s clinging burrs have been the inspiration for the invention of Velcro, they have also created a lot of suffering for animals and birds. The seeds can rapidly spread when burrs attach themselves to clothing and animal fur. These burrs can cause eye, nose, and mouth injuries to livestock causing a lower value at market time. The leaves of the burdock are so large they tend to shade out nearby native plants, thus reducing biodiversity.
A native plant in Asia, one website stated that burdock was probably carried to North America on the legs of the wolly mammoth as they crossed the Bering strait during the Ice Age!!
Another website states it was introduced to North America in 1700s for medicinal properties, also used to make paper and coffee.
Burdock has a large taproot system that grows deep and will need to be dug out or use broadleaf herbicide. No!!! Wait!!!! Did I say herbicide???? Ignore that!!! Even though the information recommends using a chemical let’s remember our pollinator friends. Dig out the roots by hand and shovel. The roots are long and it may require some time and muscle. See, already you are receiving some of the physical benefits of having burdock around! While you are digging out your burdock here is something to think about.
In Asia the plant is harvested for its roots and leaves. The roots are similar to carrot or parsnip and can be slow roasted in stews to bring out the sweetness. The young smaller leaves can be chopped and candied or pureed into smoothies. It had a slightly bitter taste that can be improved by adding sweet fruit. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center “Burdock has stronger antioxidant activity than most vegetables and fruit and contains prebiotic properties that can improve health” .
There are certain precautions one must always exercise especially if you have certain allergies or may be pregnant. Do your homework first!
Here is a cool recipe to try!
Greek Cardune , with thanks to Wildman Steve Brill
4 cups immature burdock flower stalks, sliced, parboiled 1 minute insalted water (to remove the bitterness),
with dashes of any vinegar
and olive oil
2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 red onions, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 small tomatoes, sliced
2 cups carrots, sliced
2/3 cups basmati brown rice
3 tbs. fresh dill weed, chopped
The juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. white pepper, ground
Simmer all ingredients together over low heat in a covered saucepan 70
minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Serves 6 to 8
There are lots of burdock recipes on the internet these days. Have fun searching and enjoy the benefits to your good health.
Your pollinator friends thank you.