cocklebur

Common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium). Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: May 11, 2022

Life cycle

Common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium), also called rough cocklebur, is a non-native summer annual plant.

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.

Photos

Seedling

Cocklebur seedling

Photo: Bruce Ackley, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Stems

Cocklebur stems

Photo: Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Stem and fruit

Cocklebur stem and fruit

Photo: Bruce Ackley, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

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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