rough cocklebur, clotbur, large cocklebur, woolgarie bur is a species of annual plants of the family Asteraceae.
It probably originates in North America and has been extensively naturalized elsewhere. Common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
The species is monoecious, with the flowers borne in separate unisexual heads: staminate (male) heads situated above the pistillate (female) heads in the inflorescence. The pistillate heads consist of two pistillate flowers surrounded by a spiny involucre. Upon fruiting, these two flowers ripen into two brown to black achenes and they are completely enveloped by the involucre, which becomes a bur. The bur, being buoyant, easily disperses in the water for plants growing along waterways. However, the bur, with its hooked projections, is obviously adapted to dispersal via mammals by becoming entangled in their hair. Once dispersed and deposited on the ground, typically one of the seeds germinates and the plants grows out of the bur.
The fruits are covered with numerous hooks and kids have fun throwing it at people and sticking it to their woollen clothing. It is assumed the plant originated in Central America, but is widely naturalized world over, probably because of its ingenious technique of transporting its seeds on animal fur. The plant has large and broad leaves, light and bright green in color in an alternate pattern with irregular lobes and relatively inconspicuous teeth. Stems turn maroon to black when mature, with an elliptic or egg shaped fruit clusters growing nestled around the stem. Common Cocklebur is an annual herb with a short, stout, hairy stem. Flower heads occur in racemes in leaf axils or at the end of branches. The flowers are white or green, numerous, male upper most, female ovoid, covered with hooked bristles. Fruit is obovoid, enclosed in the hardened involucre, with 2 hooked beaks and hooked bristles. Flowering: August-September.
The whole plant, specially root and fruit, is used as medicine. According to Ayurveda, X. strumarium is cooling, laxative, fattening, anthelmintic, alexiteric, tonic, digestive, antipyretic, and improves appetite, voice, complexion, and memory. It cures leucoderma, biliousness, poisonous bites of insects, epilepsy, salivation and fever.