burdock bûr´däk [key], common name of any plant of the genus Arctium of the family Asteraceae ( aster family), coarse biennials indigenous to temperate Eurasia and mostly weedy in North America. The flowers, usually purple, are followed by roundish many-seeded burs. The great burdock ( A. lappa ) has been used medicinally and (in Japan) cultivated as a vegetable called gobo. The young leaves are eaten as a salad in Scandinavia and Japan. The common burdock is A. minus. The cocklebur is sometimes confused with burdock. Burdock is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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