Garden plant or weed?

Asked August 22, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT

what is this? Leaves grow from a central crown. Stems are bristly and almost square. Leaves are deeply veined, serated or toothed along the edges and are pointed at the tip. Leaves are large and leathery, size of a hand. Doesn't appear that it wants to flower.

Lake County Illinois

1 Response

Hi --

This appears to be a young "common burdock" weed, more properly known as Arctium minus. You are correct in noticing it won't flower, at least not in its first year! The plant is biennial, developing stout stems in its second year, with flowers that mature to burrs.

Here's a write-up from the Ohio State University Extension's weed guide:

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=900

and a page from University of Illinois' Crop Science outreach:

http://extension.cropsciences.illinois.edu/fieldcrops/weeds/common_burdock/

Without more detail it's difficult to make an absolute id, but the sources above should give you enough identifying characteristics to confirm (or not!) our suspicion!