Xanthium strumarium

Photo Courtesy of K. Hubeny

Cockleburr, Sarah

Cocklebur,  Sarah Carr

Common Name(s) Cocklebur
Scientific Name Xanthium strumarium
Family Asteraceae
Location/Vegetative Zone Secondary Dune
Flowering Period Summer, Fall
Identifying Characteristics ½ to 6½ feet tall, small green flowers occur in clusters



  • ½ to 6½ feet tall
  • The brown or green prickly seedlings grow no more than 1¾ inches long and ½ inches wide.


  • The burs are buoyant and grow widely near open water. Cocklebur’s small, green flowers occur in clusters at the end of branches off the main stem.



  • When consumed in small doses, Cocklebur may have some medicinal properties as an antibiotic or sedative.

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