Illustrated Guide to
of New Zealand
Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
Zealand Plant Protection Society
Publication or other use of images or descriptive
text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is
obtained from the authors and publisher.
of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always
Available from Touchwood
shrubby perennial up to 1.5 m tall with large leaves and a large,
egg-shaped flower head surrounded by hooks that cling to clothes
Flower head thistle-like, reddish-purple, egg-shaped, up to 2
x 3 cm. The bracts surrounding the flower head carry hooks that
cling to clothes and wool. Flowers Jan-Apr.
The 5-7 mm long achenes (seeds), with pappus ('thistle-down')
up to 3.5 mm long, remain in the bur-like seed heads until they
are caught on animals or clothing.
Hollow-stalked, triangular basal leaves up to 40 cm long by 30
cm wide. Green and sparsely hairy on the upper surface, white
and densely downy underneath. Base of leaves heart-shaped.
Sparsely to densely hairy, rarely hairless or mealy, grooved.
Forest margins, scrub,
creek beds, pasture, sheep-yards, gardens and waste places.
NI and SI except for Westland. Originally from Europe and west
Young, cooked flowering
stems can be used as a vegetable, and the small green shoots of
young plants can be eaten. Burdock root has a reputation as a
general herbal remedy. Subject to Pest Plant Management Strategies
in several regions of NZ. Details are available from individual
regional councils or unitary authorities.
and similar species
with larger, longer-stalked flowers and solid stalked lower leaves,
occurs in similar habitats, restricted to Morrinsville in the
Waikato and found in scattered sites in Canterbury and Otago.
In Japan, the roots are used as a vegetable (gobo). Winter heliotrope
(Petasites fragrans) has large basal leaves, but these
are kidney-shaped, and its flower heads are similar to burdock
but do not form burs. It occurs in waste places, along stream-sides
and under trees, usually in wet areas, mostly in southern SI,
but also in Palmerston North and Auckland.
of botanical name
= mullein; minus (Lat.) = smaller.