A biennial that is popularly cultivated for its slender roots, which are crispy, with a sweet and mild though pungent flavor. Burdock is most commonly used in Japanese cuisine, where it is known as gobo.
Large leafed and tall (for a vegetable), growing to 6 feet. Flowers are purple, spiny, and appear in clusters. The large tap root can grow up to three feet.
Freeze hardy to well below 0F.
Grows well in full sun, with well-drained soil. Plants are usually started during late spring or summer for root harvest three to four months later in the fall season.
There are a number of edible uses, mostly of the roots. Burdock roots, plus carrots and seasonings make up the popular Japanese dish kinpira gobo. The root is also used in sushi, miso soups, tempura and can be fried into a potato chip-like snack. Immature flower stalks are also eaten and have a flavor somewhat like artichoke. Various parts of the plant, including its seeds have uses in traditional medicine.
Native through the temperate portions of Europe and Asia, from Great Britain to Japan. Also found in parts of the Middle East.