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Apparently, the stout taproot has a sweet taste and can be used as food. Similarly, if the outer husk of the stems are peeled away, the pith can be used like a vegetable. There are 3 Arctium spp. (Burdocks) in Illinois. One of them, Arctium tomentosum (Woolly Burdock) has abundant cobwebby hairs that cover the floral bracts below their hooked tips. Another species, Arctium lappa (Great Burdock), is often taller than Common Burdock, and it has larger flowerheads about 1–1½" across. The flowerheads of Great Burdock have longer stalks and they are arranged in flat-headed cymes, whereas the flowerheads of Common Burdock are more vertically bunched together on short stalks, as revealed in the upper photograph. The petioles of the lower leaves in Great Burdock are less furrowed on the upper surface and they are solid inside, rather than hollow.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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