Cocklebur - Xanthium strumarium
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Common cocklebur is a coarse, erect, annual herb up to 20 dm tall. The
stems are tough with short dark streaks or spots and covered with coarse
hairs. The leaves are long petiolate, alternate, broadly ovate, margins
toothed or shallowly lobed, surfaces rough-pubescent. The plant is monoecious:
the male flowers are in inconspicuous heads clustered at the tips of branches;
the female flowered heads are axillary, greenish in color with the 2 flowers
in the head enclosed by the involucre. The fruit is a distinctive hard
brown ovoid bur terminated by 2 beaks and covered with hooked spines.
Cocklebur is a cosmopolitan weed of wastelands and disturbed sites. It
occurs in crop fields, pastures, roadsides, railway banks, streams, and
flood plains. It is extremely plastic in habit growing tall and luxuriant
on rich soils with high moisture, or to only a few inches in dry poor
soils but still fruiting and setting seed.
Cocklebur has been reported to be a weed in corn, cotton, rice, orchard
crops, sugar beets, sugarcane, wheat, and pastures. The young seedlings
are poisonous to cattle and pigs. The burs can lodge in wool reducing
its quality and requiring special treatment for removal.