Greater Burdock

Taxonomic Classification:

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Asterids

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Arctium

Species: Arctium lappa [81]

Figure 37: Angiosperm Diagram

Figure 39: Greater Burdock Flower Heads

Figure 40: Greater Burdock

Why does the organism belong in this kingdom?

            Arctium lappa is a multicellular, eukaryotic plant. This is because of the organism’s complexity, it is a hermaphrodite. The organism consists of roots, herbs, and flower heads. [82] Since the organism is complex, meaning it is multicellular and an Eukaryote, then the organism is only able to be classified in the Domain Eukarya, because the other two Domains do not have organisms that are eukaryotes nor multicellular. In the Domain Eukarya, the Kingdom Plantae can reproduce sexually or asexually. When reproducing asexually, it can reproduce via vegetative reproduction or apomixis. [9] The Arctium lappa is a hermaphrodite, meaning it has both male and female organs, also it self-fertilizes.  In addition, the reproduction used in asexual reproduction is vegetative reproduction. [82] This plant is also not motile, but consists of a root system. The roots grow best when they are in soil that has good nutrients and sunlight. The roots are able to be taken out when the plant is taken out, because they do not go that far down. [83] These roots are edible and eaten by many. The roots have different tastes according to how old they are and how long and thick they are. In the root there is a substance called Inulin , which is a starch and is not  able to be digested by humans, therefore passing right through the digestive tract. [82] Organisms that are Plantae are not motile, usually consisting of a root system. However, this is not the only kingdom that is not motile, the only other kingdom that contains organisms that are not motile is the Fungi. The Arctium lappa is a photoautotroph. This means it obtains energy from the sunlight but it also stores it using a process called photosynthesis. Furthermore, the soil helps with nutrition. It must be well-drained soil, in other words, moist soil, with a neutral pH. The organism needs semi-shade to grow, but must have its sunlight. It can mostly live all year round, because there is always sunlight in the sky but it usually germinates in the autumn or spring. [82] In the kingdom Plantae, the plants are photoautotrophs and even some are heterotrophs. [8] The Kingdom Fungi do not contain any organisms that obtain energy from the sun. This is why the organism belongs in the Kingdom Plantae, and not any other kingdom in the Domain Eukarya.

General Description:

            The Arctium lappa is also known as the Greater Burdock. It is a stout with large leaves on its sides and round heads of purple flowers. The flower is closed off in a spherical wall with long scales that have hooked tips. The plant as a whole is dull, and pale green. The plants come from one thing only, which are the roots. The stem is about 3-4 feet tall with the leaves closest to the ground very large and moving up the plant the leaves slightly change, with size, becoming smaller, and shape, becoming more round. The plant is unique because it is not only found in one appearance and even looks similar to other species. The flower heads expand in the late summer days and in most of the autumn. On the end of its involucre, are little pricks, which stick to anything it comes in contact with it, and attaches itself to coats of animals, that are often carried to a different location. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. [83] The organism is found in most of Europe and east to northern Asia. In these areas it can be found in water ground soil, and sometimes fund in meadows or woods. The plant cannot grow in cold temperatures that are below freezing, however the roots of the plant can be colder. Since this is the case, the Greater Burdock is able to be left in the ground all winter. The plants grow pretty large, but it is a good idea for planting them close together. Seeds begin to grow in the autumn or even in the spring. Seeds need at least a temperature of 10°C.  The best temperature for the seed to grow is around 20-25°C. 

            The organism is mostly known for its use by people. People use the Greater Burdock as a food source and also for medical reasons. The roots, seed, stem and leaves are all edible. The root can be either raw or cooked when it is eaten. Younger roots can be left uncooked but the older roots probably should be cooked. When the root is long and old it becomes very woody at the core. The root does not have much flavor but flavor is easily absorbed by the root. The flavor is mild when younger and become stronger the older the root gets. When the root is put in the air the color of it will change. They do not have to be eaten right away, they are able to be dried and wait for their use. They consist of inulin, carbohydrates, fat, protein and ash. The young leaves are the same as the roots, could be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves consist of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and ash. Furthermore, branches are eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are made like spinach would be made. The flowering stems are often eaten and variety of salads, or boiled. When the Greater Burdock is used medically it can be used as detoxifying herbs for Chinese and Western herbal medicine. The most commonlyused part is the roots, but the leaves and fruit can also be used. When symptoms like infections, boils, rashes and skin problems are caused from overload of toxins this herb can be used. It soothes skin problems, burns and bruises. Also, this plant is used in a North American cancer drug. It is considered an antibacterial, antifungal and carminative substance. It may treat acne, herpes, ringworm, boils etc. New research shows that the seed can lower blood sugar levels as well. [82]

Watch the video below to listen about what the Greater Burdock looks like and about different characteristics of the organism has.   

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