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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include: Japanese burdock, edible burdock, great burdock, ta-li-tzu, wu-shish and yech

Latin Name:  Arctium lappa

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Echinacea, sunflower, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. roots used raw, steamed, or boiled in soups, salads and stir fries mainly in Japanese and other Asian cuisines);  Medicinal (e.g. detoxifying agent, diuretic, and mild laxative)

Gobo plants in the field.Gobo roots are often sold as root sections of a standard length in the market.
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Gobo is grown as a vegetable for its long straight root. Other minor culinary uses not discussed in this profile include pealed stems of the immature flower stock, and the leaves. Leaves and roots are also used for medicinal uses. The information in this profile relates to root vegetable production, but would be similar to the production requirements for medicinal purposes. Gobo can become invasive, but should not be confused with common burdock, which is widespread throughout Ontario. Do not let plants go to seed.

Propagation method

Direct seeding.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

15-30 cm

Between row spacing

60-90 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Lithuana showed an optimum nitrogen rate of 120 kg/ha. Uneven fertility through the root zone will cause forking. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Sand, muck.

Soil pH

6.5-7.5 (does not grow well on acidic soils).

Special requirements for growth habit

Growers in Japan often build boxes on top of the soil filled with soil so the roots grow partially above the natural soil level. Gobo can also be grown in a greenhouse in raised beds or boxes.

Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

90-120 days; Roots become woody beyond this time. Fall or spring harvested roots should be seeded later to ensure that they are harvested at this stage.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest; machine harvest (modified potato or carrot harvester – see Additional Harvest Notes below).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Traditional root crop harvesters may not be deep enough to harvest roots of gobo, unless the crop is grown on tall raised beds. Gobo roots can exceed 1 m in length in loose soil. Equipment modifications may be required. Harvest in the fall or early spring before new shoots develop. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-95%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 20-35 days

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, leafhoppers

Diseases: Mosaic virus


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Grasshoppers

Diseases: Powdery mildew, burdock black streak (Itersonilia perplexans), blackroot (Aphanomyces raphani), nematodes


*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none.  It is not known whether grubs, wireworms and other common soil pests of conventional root crops will attack Japanese burdock.  In other countries, Japanese burdock is reported to be most susceptible to pests and weed competition during the initial eight weeks of establishment.  When grown for its roots, this crop is in Crop Group 1: Root and Tuber Vegetables and subgroup 1A: Root Vegetables and 1B: Root Vegetables except Sugarbeet.  When the leaves are harvested, this crop is in Crop Group 2:  Leaves of root and Tuber Vegetables (Human Food or Animal Feed). For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1.  Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, New crops: old challenges: tips and tricks for managing new crops!
  1. Center for Plant and Water Science, CQ University.  Burdock.
  2. Harukuni, H., Tsutomu, K. and Y. Shinji.  200e.  Epidemiology and pest control of burdock black streak.    Atarashii Kenky Seika. Hokkaido Chilki 2001:  116-119.
  3. Munro, D.B. and E. Small. 1997. Vegetables of Canada. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  4. 2.  Penkauskene, E.A. and S.P. Rimkene. 1984. Trials on Arctium lappa L. growing in the Lithuanian SSR.
  5. Rastitel'nye Resursy 20:206-212.