Common names (selected) English: burdock, beggar’s button, edible burdock, great burdock, greater burdock, lappa; Chinese: 牛蒡 (burdock); French: bardane comestible, glouteron, grande bardane, Oreille de géant; German: eßbare Klettenwurzel, große Klette, japanische Klettenwurzel; Polish: dziady, łopuch, rzep, głowacz, kostropien, topień; Portuguese: bardana-major; Spanish: bardana, lampazo mayor, lapa; Swedish: stor kardborrel Indonesian: gobo
Native regions and distribution: Temperate and tropical Asia and Europe, but has naturalized in many other parts of the world including North America and Australia.
Urban habitat: Commonly found along roadsides, ditches, near creeks, disturbed sites. It thrives in full sun but can tolerate shade.
Ecological function: Disturbance-adapted colonizer and food and habitat for wildlife.
History / human uses: A. lappa has a long history as a detoxifying herb in western and Chinese medicine, primarily in the use of its root, which is thought to eliminate heavy metals from the body. It has also been used on the treatment of particular ailments, including herpes, acne, eczema, psoriasis, boils, rashes, indigestion, and constipation. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac, which is a popular treatment for cancer. Several Native American tribes, including Cherokee, Iroquois, Malecite, and Micmac, used the leaves of plant to treat bruises, venereal diseases, and its seeds and roots to treat rheumatism, scurvy, and as a blood purifier. Its leaves, stalks and roots are edible either cooked or raw.