Xanthium strumarium L.
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: XAST
Rough-stemmed plant with separate greenish male and female flower heads.
The only other species of this genus occurring in North America is Spiny Clotbur (X. spinosum), which has tapering, shiny, veined leaves and distinctive 3-branched orangish spines at the point of each leaf attachment. A cocklebur was the inspiration for a Swiss engineer, George deMastral, in 1948, for the invention of Velcro. He examined the burs that stuck to his socks and discovered that they consisted of hundreds of tiny hooks, which attached themselves to anything loopy.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Throughout much of temperate North America.
Native Habitat: Waste places, roadsides, and low ground.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Cocklebur seeds were the most commonly recorded food of the extinct Carolina Parakeet, the only parrot native to eastern North America.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0178 Collected Sept. 3, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
BibliographyBibref 1236 - The Carolina Parakeet: Glimpses of a Vanished Bird (2004) Snyder, Noel F. R.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Xanthium strumarium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Xanthium strumarium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Xanthium strumarium
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-07-12
Research By: TWC Staff