University of Maryland Extension

Common cocklebur


Common cocklebur
Xanthium strumarium


Life cycle: summer annual
Growth habit: large 2 - 4 ft. high plant with rough, sandpapery, maple-shaped, alternate leaves; stem often purple-spotted; inconspicuous green flowers in leaf axils followed by distinct 1/2 in. prickly burs with hooks
Reproduction: reproduces by seed and can be carried long distances because of hooked burs
Conditions that favor growth: open ground not planted with grass or another ground cover
Cultural control: identify plant, monitor early, manual removal before seeds form; plant grass, ground cover, or cover crop


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