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Cockleburr (Xanthium)

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Cockleburr Genus Details

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Cockleburs are annual weeds with branching strong stems and lobed leaves. The plants produce burs armed with spines. These spines serve as an excellent device for seed distribution. They hook onto animals that walk by and can be carried for miles. Likely not a source of allergies themselves, these burrs serve as temporary resting places for other pollen types just as leaves and branches do.
Rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium).  Photo source: Lewis et al
Rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium). Photo source: Lewis et al

Cockleburr Allergy Info

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Because this weed is wind-pollinated, and a member of the same family as the notoriously allergenic ragweed, it is likely a source of allergy.

Cockleburr Pollen Description

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Grains are mostly oblate-spheroidal to prolate-spheroidal. The amb is triangular, 3-4 lobate, pentagonal or hexagonal, and 3-4 colporate. Spinules are reduced to small pointed or blunt projections less than 0.6 micrometers long.
Pollen grains are 26-28 micrometers.

Species in This Genus

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Allergenicity Legend:
Mild Allergen Mild Allergen  |  Moderate Allergen Moderate Allergen  |  Severe Allergen Severe Allergen  |  Allergy Test Allergy Test Available
Cockleburr (Xanthium) is a genus of the ASTERACEAE family.
This genus includes the following allergenic species:

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Cockleburr Genus Location

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The shaded areas on the map indicates where the genus has been observed in the United States. Click the map to see a full scale version of these allergy areas.
  - Native, observed in a county
  - Introduced, observed in a county
  - Rarely observed

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