Gobo (Arctium lappa)

Gobo (Arctium lappa)
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Greater burdock, Edible burdock, or Lappa Burdock is a biennial of the Arctium (burdock) genus in the Asteraceae family, cultivated in gardens for its root used as a vegetable.

Greater Burdock is rather tall, reaching as much as 2 metres. It has large, alternating, cordiform leaves that have a long petiole and are pubescent on the underside.

The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula, united in clusters. They appear in mid-summer. The capitula are surrounded by an involucre made out of many bracts, each curving to form a hook, allowing them to be carried long distances on the fur of animals. The fruits are achenes; they are long, comprimated, with short pappuses.

The root is pivotant, fleshy, reaching a length of 50 cm.

This species is native to the temperate regions of the old world, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and from the British Isles through Russia, and the Middle East to China and Japan, including India. It is naturalized almost everywhere and is usually found in disturbed areas, especially in soil rich in nitrogen.