narctiumA genus of dicotyledonous plants of the family Asteraceæ. They are coarse, branching herbs with broad alternate leaves and heads of purple or white flowers: distinguished from Carduus, a related genus, by the bracts of the involucre ending in along stiff point hooked at the extremity. There are about six species, natives of Europe and Asia. Three have been introduced into the United States. For A. Lappa see batweed, burdock, hardock, and harebur.
The roots of other species of Arctium are also employed.
"Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants" by A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
They all owe a debt of gratitude to burdock ( Arctium ), whose hook-tipped burrs inspired the invention of Velcro.