Is this thing named Audrey?
May 12, 2016 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Some otherwise-unplanted space at the side of my patio has, this spring, been taken over by this plant.

In the past couple weeks it has grown very aggressively. I don't necessarily mind it there -- at times I've thought about letting the yard revert to a more natural state, and this thing doesn't offend me, at least, by its very presence. I'm mostly just curious what it is and I'm a total plant ignoramous. Can I get an ID on this, and a heads up on any reason not to leave it alone, aside from it likely choking out some of the existing greenery?
posted by jammer to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (I should add, should it help with identification, that I live in the Chicago area.)
posted by jammer at 10:53 AM on May 12, 2016

Best answer: I think that is burdock.
posted by adiabatic at 11:01 AM on May 12, 2016

Best answer: Looks like burdock to me.
posted by esker at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2016

Best answer: There is no reason to remove it unless you don't like burdock.
posted by adiabatic at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2016

Response by poster: Awesome, it does look like burdock based on the pictures I just pulled up online. I knew I'd get a fast identification here. Thanks, all!
posted by jammer at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2016

Best answer: Though it's next to impossible to get rid of completely, I always dig up burdock as soon as I see it because the seed heads (burrs) get stuck to EVERYTHING -- scarves, pants, socks, shoes, and pets. It also spreads like wildfire via wild animal fur. It's biennial, so if it doesn't go to seed and spread this year, it will next year.
posted by amnesia and magnets at 11:17 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you do remove it, burdock have real long, skinny, easy-to-break tap roots. For a burdock of that size, the root is probably 6 feet deep underground. If you don't get the whole root, it comes back. So dig down and around, don't just pull.
posted by holyrood at 12:00 PM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On the plus side burdock is useful for tea and its roots are plentiful and edible. Japanese cuisine makes a lot of use of it.

On the minus side, you may wish this had been Audrey a few summers from now. It's considered invasive and is a prolific seed/burr producer. Animals/pets as well as humans are major vectors for it domestically.
posted by bonehead at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Burdock burrs are the worst thing in the world to get out of your clothes. I'd remove it with prejudice.
posted by no1hatchling at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you have pets, it should go. Getting burrs out of my husky's coat usually means hours of work with an unhappy patient.
posted by HuronBob at 4:31 PM on May 12, 2016

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