E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Xanthium strumarium L.
common cocklebur (rough cockleburr)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14619)

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Distribution of Xanthium strumarium
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Xanthium strumarium var. canadense

Species Information

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Annual herb from a taproot; stems erect, solitary, simple, stiff-hairy or nearly glabrous, 0.2-2 m tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves broadly egg-shaped to kidney-shaped, becoming heart-shaped at the base, alternate, sometimes shallowly 3- to 6-lobed, stalked, 2-15 cm long including the stalks, stiff-hairy or nearly glabrous.
Heads unisexual in several or many short, axillary clusters; male involucres of separate bracts, female involucres of fused bracts forming a conspicuous cylindric to egg-shaped 2-chambered bur with hooked prickles, 1-3.5 cm long; corolla lacking.
Achenes thick, solitary in the chambers of the bur; pappus lacking.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist ditches and disturbed areas in the steppe zone; rare in SC BC and SW BC (lower Fraser River valley); introduced from E North America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References