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Flaigg, Norman G.
Xanthium strumarium L.
USDA Symbol: xast
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Flower:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct
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
, PE Native Distribution:
Throughout much of temperate North America. Native Habitat:
Waste places, roadsides, and low ground. USDA Native Status: L48(N), HI(I), PR(N), VI(N), CAN(N)
Cocklebur seeds were the most commonly recorded food of the extinct Carolina Parakeet, the only parrot native
to eastern North America. Conspicuous Flowers:
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0178
Collected Sept. 3, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
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Record Modified: 2009-07-12
Research By: TWC Staff