common cocklebur

Asterales > Asteraceae > Xanthium strumarium L.
Synonym(s): cocklebur, cockleburr, rough cocklebur

Common cocklebur is an annual herb, with several regional varieties, native to North America. Historically, the seeds were eaten by the Carolina parakeet, which is now extinct. Plants can reach 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall with thick, reddish or black spotted stems. Leaves are alternate, triangular, weakly 3-lobed and 1.2-7 in. (3-18 cm) long. Flowering occurs in July to October when flowers develop in the axils of the leaves. Fruit are ellipsoid burs. Burs are 0.6-1.4 in. (1.5-3.5 cm) long, green to yellowish brown and covered with projecting, stout prickles. Cocklebur occurs in ditches, fields, riparian areas, pastures, croplands, seasonal wetlands and other disturbed areas. Seeds and seedlings are toxic to livestock.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources


Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Seedling(s);
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Richard Old, XID Services, Inc., Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); immature fruit
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); burs
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Diagram or Graphic; USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Michigan - Noxious Weed Law
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia