Great Burdock is a traditional medicinal plant with broad elephant ears and a deep, nutritious taproot. It is reported to be supportive of the liver, healing for skin blemishes, and cooling for inflammation. In Japanese cooking it is called gobo, and provides a crunchy, earthy, carrot-like quality to soups, stir-fries, shredded salads, sushi, and tempura. This biennial member of the aster family can grow taller than you in the second year, spouting a spray of thistle-like purple flowers that make clingy seed pods, which were the inspiration for zippers. Dig the roots for food and medicine in the fall of the first year. This will also keep it from reseeding itself in the second year.
Seeds per pack: 100
Germination rate: 97% on 11/08/2021
Planting / harvesting notes
Sow seeds 1/4" deep directly in the ground in early spring - germination can take some time. Sow every 6" and thin to one plant every 24-36". Keep moist until germination. Root harvest is difficult - prepare as if digging up a tree. Lift roots in the fall of the first year.
Seed keeping notes
Allow seed pods to dry out and begin to open, releasing the first seeds. Wear protective clothing, as the hairs from the pods can irritate like hairs on your neck after a visit to the hairdressers, but worse. Cut the seedheads below the lowest ripe seed pods and whack in a bucket, releasing the seeds. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin over the pods to release the seeds. Winnow using breath, wind, or fans to remove the fine, irritating dust. This plant will reseed itself, so if you are concerned about having it forever in your garden, do not allow it to go to seed.