Greater burdock, Edible burdock, or Lappa Burdock is a biennial plant of the Arctium (burdock) genus in the Asteraceae family, cultivated in gardens for its root used as a vegetable.
Greater Burdock is rather tall, reaching as much as 2 metres. It has large, alternating, cordiform leaves that have a long petiole and are pubescent on the underside.
The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula, united in clusters. They appear in mid-summer, from July to September. The capitula are surrounded by an involucre made out of many bracts, each curving to form a hook, allowing them to be carried long distances on the fur of animals. The fruits are achenes; they are long, compressed, with short pappuses.
The fleshy tap-root can grow up to 1m long.
Greater burdock was used during the Middle Ages as a vegetable, but now it is rarely used, with the exception of Japanwhere it is called gobō. Taiwan, Korea where it is called ueong. Italy, Brazil and Portugal, where it is known as bardana or “garduna”. Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 1 meter long and 2 cm across.
Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear. The taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related.