Species: Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus)


Category: Flowering Plants

Location: NE

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


This is one of the largest worldwide flowering plant families and is well represented in the UK. The name Compositae refers to the clustering of the flowers (called florets) into compact heads, so that an entire cluster represents a single 'flower'. They also have one-seeded fruits called achenes.

C. Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus)

Lesser Burdock is a tall plant that rises to 1.5 metres, topped with a number of thistle-like flower spikes, topped with a purple tuft. The leaf stalks (or petioles) of these robust plants are hollow, unlike its larger cousin, the Greater Burdock, whose leaf stalks are solid. Leaves are hairy on the underside. The spikes have many bracts, each of which ends in a hook, which explains why the mature fruits can be transported some distance by different animals.

This biennial plant is found fairly frequently in southern England, excluding the south-west.


Lesser Burdock

The spikes of Lesser Burdock have many bracts, each of which ends in a hook. These fruits are transported by animals.

The purple flower heads of Lesser Burdock are often mistaken for thistles.

Lesser Burdock

The plant photographed here is one of three that sprang up rather suddenly near the entrance to the Cemetery in late April 2022. We assume that mature fruits were brought into the Cemetery, most likely by a fox.