Share

Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    

Xanthium strumarium (Rough cockleburr)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Xanthium strumarium

Xanthium strumarium L.

Rough cockleburr

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: xast

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N), CAN (N)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Flower:
Fruit:

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: 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.

Benefit

Use 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

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FAC FAC FAC FACU FAC FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

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

Additional resources

USDA: Find Xanthium strumarium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Xanthium strumarium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Xanthium strumarium

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2009-07-12
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back