Xanthium strumarium  

Common name: Cocklebur

Family: Compositae

Origin: Central America

U.S. Distribution: Eastern

Height: Up to 5 ft.

Foliage: Alternate, simple, long petioled, broadly ovate-cordate, somewhat lobed

Flowers: Staminate flowers in short terminal spikes, pistillate flowers in in axillary clusters

Burs are oval, light brown with numerous prickles, hooked at the end

Bloom time: August - September

Habitat: Abandoned land, poor pastures, roadsides, bottomlands, vacant lots

Soil: Rich cultivated soils, also alluvial soils

Other: Spiny burs are scattered by hooking onto clothing and fur. The seedlings are poisonous especially to cattle and pigs because of a toxic glucoside (xanthostrumarin). The toxicity decreases as the leaves develop.

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