Plant Image
Willow Dells Tr - SS

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Xanthium strumarium - rough cocklebur

Synonyms: Xanthium saccharatum
Other Common Names: common cocklebur, clotbur
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Asteraceae

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Willow Dells Tr
Willow Dells Tr
Plant - summer
Willow Dells Tr
Plant - summer
Willow Dells Tr
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Annual
General Desc: Bushy annual. Spiny burs get tangled in fur and fabric. Seeds and young plants are poisonous to livestock, especially chickens and hogs.
Height: 4 feet


Habitat Description: Waste places, disturbed moist areas, fallow fields, sandy flood plains and shorelines, stream and river banks, margins of ponds and lakes; sandy and alkaline soils.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 100 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Greenish     Shape: Inconspicuous in round clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Jun - Oct
Description: Male: tiny, in clusters at top of stem. The female flower heads are found in the leaf axils, followed by spiny, up to 1-1/2 inch long burs.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Yellowish-green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Triangular     Leaf Margin: Toothed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Triangular or broadly egg-shaped to circular or kidney-shaped, 1-1/2 to 7-1/2 inches long, 1 to 6 inches wide; surfaces rough-hairy, palmately veined; margins coarsely-toothed and un-lobed or with 3 or 5 shallow lobes; tip rounded or broadly pointed.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Brown   
Fruit Type: Achene
Fruit Notes: The fruits are cylindrical to barrel-shaped, hard, spiny burs, green drying to brown. The burs can stick to fur and clothing and can be very difficult to extract.
Seed Notes: The burs contain two seeds each in their own compartment and are poisonous. One of the seeds in each bur may germinate the following year with the other seed taking at least 2 years to germinate.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 3.1  
Last Updated: June 15, 2013  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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