Noxious Weed of the Month: common burdock

Photo courtesy Jamie Jones
The leaves of common burdock closely resemble rhubarb or the ornamental elephant ear. Burdock produces as many as 15,000 seeds per plant and is a noxious weed.

By Ethan Proud  | PREVIEW Columnist

Common burdock is the plant with the burrs. It is not to be mistaken for the other burr-bearing plants like cocklebur and wild licorice, both of which are native and their management is dependent on the landowners’ preference. 

The leaves of burdock closely resemble rhubarb or the ornamental elephant ear. Plants can grow between 3 and 10 feet tall and have spiny flowers that are either purple or white. Burdock produces as many as 15,000 seeds per plant. Both the flowers and burrs can trap nectar-seeking animals like bats and hummingbirds. 

Controlling burdock follows the same management advice as musk thistle, a plant most of us know well. Either use mechanical or chemical control for best results. Removing the seed heads and bagging them will prevent future infestations and removing the plant 2 to 4 inches below the soil will sever the root crown. For the enterprising and determined burdock remover, the root is edible, though it is tough and chewy if not prepared right.

In Archuleta County, burdock is widespread, but there are not many major infestations. It can grow in rangeland settings, pastureland, roadsides and along streams, but I often see it growing beneath willows and other riparian trees and shrubs.

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Healthy Archuleta event

Healthy Archuleta, also known as the FSFE — Food Coalition, is celebrating and honoring our community Saturday, July 23, from 12:30-3:30 p.m at the athletic field across from Town Park. 

For more information on becoming a sponsor, helping with the event, participating or getting a paper registration form, please email or call (401) 371-3227.

Archuleta County Fair

The Archuleta County Fair is set for Aug. 4-7. 

Have you ever wanted to enter the Archuleta County Fair? Are you a woodworker, potter, jeweler, photographer, painter or knitter? Or, maybe you grow vegetables or bake cookies? Would you like to showcase your creations? These are just some of the many divisions that you can enter in Open Class. 

Go to and look up the 2022 Fair Book for the rules. Judging will be Aug. 3. 

If you have further questions, please email 

You could earn a Grand Champion ribbon at the Archuleta County Fair.

Volunteers needed

Archuleta County 4-H needs volunteers. We are looking for a short-term commitment for superintendents at the county fair. 

Please contact our office at (970) 264-5931 or contact 4-H Coordinator Becky Jacobson at

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered every other month (February, April, June, August, October and December) from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid, and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 264-5931 to register.

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