spiny cocklebur
Xanthium spinosum L.


Overview

The following description of Xanthium spinosum is adapted from Abrams (1940), Jepson (1951), Munz and Keck (1973), Robbins et al. (1970), and Holm et al. (1977).

Xanthium spinosum is an erect, rigid, much-branched annual herb, 3-10 dm tall and up to 15 dm or more wide. Stems are striate, yellowish or brownish gray, and finely pubescent. The cotyledons are linear-lanceolate in shape, differing in appearance from later developing leaves. True leaves are lanceolate, entire, toothed or lobed, 3-8 cm long, 6-26 mm wide, glabrous or strigose above, and silvery-tomentulose beneath. They are dull gray-green above with a conspicuous white midrib and short petioles (1 cm). Each leaf base is armed at the axil with yellow three-pronged spines 2-5 cm long, often opposite in pairs.

Flower heads are in axillary clusters or often solitary. Flowers are inconspicuous, greenish, and monoecious; male flowers in almost globular heads in axils of upper most leaves, and female flowers in axils of lower leaves, developing into a bur. The bur is two--celled, oblong, nearly egg-shaped, slightly flattened, 10-13 mm long, 4 mm wide, pale yellowish, more or less striate, glandular, covered with slender, hooked, glabrous spines from more or less thickened bases, with the two apical beaks short and straight. Each bur contains two flattened, thick-coated, dark brown or black seeds, the lower germinating first.

Xanthium is derived from the Greek, xanthos, meaning "yellow" and is thought to refer to a yellow dye obtainable from some species.

Unlike cocklebur (X. strumarium), spiny clotbur has conspicuous narrower leaves tapering at both ends, short petioles, conspicuous three-pronged spines at the leaf base, and egg-shaped burs covered with hooked, thorny prickles.

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Maps



EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank


Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Xanthium
Subject: Xanthium spinosum L.

Synonyms and Other Names


Other Common Names:
spiny cockleburr, Bathurst burr, cocklebur, spiny cocklebur, spiny colklebur, spanish-thistle, daggerweed, spiny burweed, thorny burweed

Categories


Plants - Forbs/Herbs