Burdock root comes from the Greater Burdock or Arctium lappa.
Once grown as a common and popular vegetable in the European Middle Ages, burdock has inexplicably fallen out of popularity in modern times. It is still quite well-loved and eaten throughout Asia.
Brazil: bardana, garduna.
China: ngau pong, niúbàng (牛蒡 ), niu bang zi.
Croatia: čaj od čička, lopuh, lapušina, veliki čičak, veliki ripanj
Czech republic: lopuch větsí.
English-speaking countries: burdock, edible burdock, greater burdock, great burdock, great bur, common burdock, aireve, airup, bachelor’s-buttons (more often applied to Centaurea cyanus), bardane root, bazzies (?), beggar’s button, billy-buttons, bourholm (obsolete), burr seed, clive, clit-bur, great clotbur, clot, clod, cockle-bar, cockle-bur (more often applied to the Xanthium species), cockle-button, cockly-bur, crocklety-bur, cockly, cuckoldy-bur, cuckold-dock, cucklemoors, cuckold-dock, cuckoo-button, eddick (?), edible goberon, flapper-bags, Fox’s clote, happy major, harebur, hardock (also appearing incorrectly as harlock), herrif, hoar-dock, hurr-burr, lappa root, lappa, love leaves, personata, philanthropium. stick-button, sticky buttons, thistle (more often applied to other plants), thorny bur, turkey-bur (name applied to other plants) .
Estonia: suur takjas.
France: glouteron (Codex), artichaut, bardane, bardane comestible, bardane commune, bardane géante, bardane majeure, bardane officinale, bouillon noir, catherinettes, chou d’âne, copeau, croquia, craquia, crakia, grachias, grande bardane, graquias, grateau, gratteau, gratteron, grippe, herbe aux pouilleux, herbe aux seigneurs, herbe aux teigneux, herbe du teigneux, oreille de géant, napolier, pignet, piquant, rapace, rhubarbe du diable, rhubarbe sauvage, rosesbardane, tabac du yâb, toques.
Germany: große klette, dollenkrautwurzel, kleberwurzel, klettendistelwurzel, klettenwurzel, kletten-wurzel, klissenwurzel, rossklettenwurzel.
Italy: bardana, lappa bardana, bardana maggiore.
Japan: gobō (牛蒡 or ゴボウ or ごぼ).
Latin: Bardanae Radix, Radix Arctii, Radix Lappae, Radix Personatae.
Portugal: bardana, orelha-de-gigante
Russia: lapuch, lopuszniek, repiejnik.
Korea: u-eong (우엉)
Serbia: čičak, korijen čička (dried)
The slender roots can reach 4 feet, and resemble a carrot in shape. Harvesting is typically done when they reach around two feet long. The roots are brown with white flesh that rapidly darkens with exposure to air. That oxidation can also stain fingers so latex gloves might be desired.
Preparation is commonly done using a bowl of acidified water to place pieces into as they get cut. This will help keep them light colored.
Burdock roots can be eaten raw or cooked. They have a mild, earthy flavor that is highly prized for rich soups and stews. The root of burdock is very commonly julienned or sliced thinly.
The immature peeled flower stalks and the young leaves can also be eaten fresh or cooked. Cultivars have been developed specifically for their leaves. The roots are also enjoyed pickled.
Burdock seeds were the inspiration for the invention of Velcro by George de Mestral in the 1940s.