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the web of life in southern Africa

Arctium lappa (Burdock, Gobo)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid II > Family: Asteraceae > Genus: Arctium

Native to Europe and introduced to Asia and North America. The roots are used medicinally for skin complaints, rheumatism and as a diuretic. Young roots are eaten as a vegetable, like carrots, mainly in Japan (where it is called Gobo). They are also grated into stews and sliced into stir fries. In France and Italy, young shoots and leaves are added to soups. Cultivated mainly as a vegetable crop, particularly in Japan. Has been cultivated in southern Africa, but not well known here.


  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.