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No Cockleburs for Me!

September 24th, 2007

     Rain is coming this week, so catching up on grass cutting and trimming has been a priority.  The leaves are just beginning to change color in various species, and it’s a good time to plan how the landscape will be shaped over fall and winter.   I found a surprise today growing near the field, close to the roadside.  It was a Cocklebur plant, Xanthium strumarium.  

Not a nice plant, the Cocklebur… the burs are a tremendous annoyance, and if you find yourself in a field of Cockleburs you can hardly get the little devils off your clothing.  If your dog gets a Cocklebur in its coat, chances are you’ll have to cut it out with scissors as it works its way deeply toward the skin.  And the plant itself is toxic! I once found myself in a field of Cockleburs while hunting in the early light of dawn; I had wandered into the field inadvertently, and ended up walking through acres and acres of the pokey things.  That was truly awful. 

So I was literally shocked today to see the plant growing here, and the burs almost completely grown!  I suspect it arrived via some bur seeds falling off a passing truck at some point over the past year.  We have many farm vehicles that travel the road heavily throughout the year. There were actually two plants, and I dug them both up- roots and all, and put them in a plastic bag for disposal.  I kept one of the burs and we had a good lesson topic at dinner tonight.  And they are kind of interesting…  But hopefully there will be no more Cocklebur plants at Fox Haven!

The Cocklebur plant a toxic, pokey nuisance!

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