Cocklebur • Xanthium
Conditions: Allergic rhinitis.
Symptoms: Itchy, stuffy, or runny nose; post-nasal drip; sneezing; itchy, red or watery eyes.
Physical description: Grows 2-4 feet high; round, slightly ribbed stems that have purple specks; lobed leaves; each plant contains a male and female flower that contain two seeds.
Environmental factors: Found in cropland (especially cornfields), fallow fields, floodplain zones of rivers and ponds, degraded meadows, dried-up mud holes, partially stabilized areas of beaches and sand dunes, vacant lots, and waste areas; can live virtually anywhere; its seeds are transported primarily by air, however, they are also carried via animals when the burs get stuck to their hairs.
Cross-reactivity: 80% of all plants in the Asteraceae family.
- “Cocklebur.”Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cocklebur
- “Common Cocklebur.” Illinois Wildflowers. http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/cocklebur.htm
- “List of plants in the family Asteraceae.” Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/list-of-plants-in-the-family-Asteraceae-2040400
- “Herbicides, Agronomic Crops, and Weed Biology.” Scribd; Edited by Andrew Price, Jessica Kelton, and Lina Sarunaite. https://es.scribd.com/document/291652593/HerbicidesAgronomicCropsWeedBiology15ITAe-pdf
Did You Know?
Cocklebur is a member of the sunflower family and is also called the “hitchhiker” because of how it attaches itself. George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer, was inspired by stiff hooks of cocklebur when he created Velcro.