Identify Edible Plant
Is Murdock an edible plant, and how do you tell it from rhubarb?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
I believe you mean Burdock, and yes this plant is edible, though not popular. Dig up roots after the first year’s growing season, before it goes to seed in its second year, then dry for future use. Take leaves and fruits of second year plants in summer when mature. Shoots and roots can be simmered, then stir fried. Young leaves can also be cooked as greens. Roots may be grated raw into salads.
It is similar in appearance to rhubarb, so care must be taken as rhubarb leaves are poisonous. In fact, Burdock is often called "wild rhubarb." Burdock mostly resembles rhubarb in its first year. In its second year, it will send up a tall central shoot that will flower and produce prickly burrs. Rhubarb stems will be red and not very hairy, whereas Burdock stems will be mainly green with only a hint of red and quite hairy. Also, rhubarb leaves are broader and have about five main veins radiating from a single point at the base of the leaf, with side veins radiating from those, whereas Burdock leaves are more narrow and elongated and have only a single main vein down the center, with side veins coming off of it. In addition, if it has a spreading nature to it, then it's probably Burdock and not rhubarb.