Burdock is an herb that is known by many names including Thorny Burr, Lappa, Personata, and Happy Major. The parts of the plant that are actually used are its roots and seeds. Burdock roots have been used as an antiviral to help fend off colds, and also as an alternative remedy for other ailments including measles, arthritis and tonsillitis. You can find it in the wild-- if you know what to look for.
Young burdock is nothing to marvel at: it is a cluster of veiny green leaves growing close to the ground. The leaves of young burdock are shaped like shovels. The leaves can grow to be large: 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. As the plant matures into its second year, you will notice a central flower stalk. The stalks grow between 2 and 9 feet tall.
The plant will also sprout flowers. The flowers of a burdock plant are like spiky orbs with purple bristles popping out of the top. After the plant flowers, fruits form. The fruits of this plant, however, are not your conventional apple or orange.
Burdock fruits are brown burrs. These burrs tend to stick to everything, such as pant legs and coat sleeves. Each fruit contains burdock seeds. These look like small, moon-shaped chips of wood. The plant is native to Europe and Asia.