ROUGH COCKLEBUR

Xanthium strumarium

(Formerly: Xanthium echinatum)
Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8green
 
petals
petalsZ0
 
type
typeZglobed
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8pungent
pungent
sex
sexZmonoecious
 

27th Aug 2003, place unknown. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Stems round and up to 1m long, either erect or decumbent, here decumbent. Leaves quite big, roughly heat-shaped, matte-green and variously toothed, but the aroma and colour are very variable. The stem is round and brown here. Some say the leaves smell 'pungent', but it is very variable.


27th Aug 2003, place unknown. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The plant is monoecious, having separate male and female parts but all on the same plant.

The size and shape of the two differing sorts of burs are also very variable. One book says the male burs are spherical and between 5 and 8mm across with reddish anthers, and the female burs are egg-shaped. Both have protrusions radiating out from them.


Easily confused with : Flower () [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Not to be semantically confused with : Corncockle (grostemma githago), Plumed Cockscomb (elosia argentea), Cockspurthorn (Crataegus crus-galli), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), Cockspur (Echinochloa crus-galli), Cock's-Eggs (Salpichroa origanifolia) nor with Cockroach Berry (Solanum capsicoides), [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The leaves and the burs.

It is a neophyte and is to be found scattered in central and southern England occuring mainly from wool or soyabean waste.

There is also the sub-species ssp. italicum with much larger burs (15 to 35mm rather than the smaller 8 to 15mm of the specimen shown here).

There are two other species, Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) and Argentine Cocklebur (Xanthium ambrosioides), both similarly neophytes occurring from imported wool waste to be found in tips and waste ground; the latter being very rare (but since it is a neophyte - it does not qualify for a Stace [RRR] rarity accolade)


  Xanthium strumarium  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Xanthium
Xanthium
(Xanthium)

ROUGH COCKLEBUR

Xanthium strumarium

(Formerly: Xanthium echinatum)
Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]