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  • Larry W. Mitich (a1)


Although the word “xanthium” may conjure up visions of the exotic Far East, it is the generic name of spiny cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum L. #3 XANSP) and common cocklebur (X. strumarium L. # XANST). A familiar weed of fields and roadsides, cocklebur may have originated in the Mediterranean region and has plagued farmers and shepherds since Biblical times. Common cocklebur was considered a beneficient herb in ancient times. Its roots, seeds, and leaves were used as a diuretic and as a tonic to purify the blood. North American Indians used the leaves of spiny cocklebur to counteract hydrophobia.



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1 No. 19 of the series, “Intriguing World of Weeds.” Contributions are welcome and will be acknowledged. Send contributions to Larry W. Mitich.

3 Letters following this symbol are a WSSA-approved computer code from Composite List of Weeds, Weed Sci., 32, Suppl. 2. Available from WSSA, 309 West Clark Street, Champaign, IL 61820.


  • Larry W. Mitich (a1)


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