Lesser Burdock - Arctium minus


    Medium to tall plant to 1.5 metres. Stems hairy, often reddish, with down-curved branches. Basal leaves large (to 50 cm) with hollow stalks. Flowers purple - flowerheads 15 to 18 mm (15 to 25 mm in fruit) the outside bracts green or purple tinged often cottony when young.

    Similar Species

    Greater and Wood Burdocks

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    A more or less racemose inflorescence (the outer flowers have short stalks or are stalkless).   Hollow petiole to the basal leaves.  It can have glabrous or hairy flowers.  

    Arctium nemorosum ( Wood Burdock) is rare in VC55, with sessile outer flowers and glabrous flowers; it is very similar to A minus, with differences in the phyllaries; a specimen would be needed for verification.

    Recording advice

    A photo of the plant in its habitat, showing the whole flower-head.  if not in flower, evidence that the basal leaf petiole has been checked


    Variety of habitats and soils except very acid ones.

    When to see it

    July to September.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Quite a common plant nationally except in the north of Scotland.

    VC55 Status

    Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 473 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map