by Stephen Mifsud
   2 Mar 2024      ()
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Xanthium strumarium   (Rough Cocklebur)

Xanthium strumarium  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
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Profile Date Sep-2005 (taxon update: Sep-2005)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Xanthium strumarium - datasheet created on Sep-2005. Retrieved from on 02-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Xanthium strumariumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 987 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Xanthium chinense Mill.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
123 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Rough Cocklebur, Common Cocklebur, Burweed

Maltese name(s) :

Maltese name not known

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

July – October

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Xanthium: An old name applied by Dioscorides (40 - 90 AD) to a cockbur plant where a yellow hair dye was extracted. (Greek origin )
strumarium: swelling or tumour-like structure, with reference to the swollen ovoid fruit. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: River-banks, lake shores, dry valley beds, pastures and disturbed ground.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Dry valley beds, water catchment areas, reservoirs.
Botanical Description: Stem 20-120 cm, sometimes more, usually branched, unarmed. Leaves long-petiolate; lamina broadly ovate to triangular, with a cordate or rarely cuneate base, entire, or with 3-5 wide, coarsely serrate lobes, green and with short, stiff hairs on both surfaces. Capitula in axillary clusters and sometimes also in a terminal, leafless inflorescence, the male above the female. Involucre in fruit with straight or hooked spines and distinct beaks.
Chromosome number: 2n=36
Distributional range: E., C. & S. Europe casual in the north and west.
Native region outside Europe: (South America.)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
dAb(A N) AE(G) dAg Al dAr Au -Az BH ?Bl(I) -Bl(M) Bu Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Eg Ga(F) Ge dGg Gr He Hs(S) Hu Ir It Jo Le Lu Ma Mk Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Sn Sr Sy Tu(A E) Uk(K) [nAl aAu(A) aBe(B L) Bl(N) Br By nCy aEg aEs aGe aHb(E N) nHo La Lt nMa Md(M) ?Mk Mo nPo Rf(C E K N NW S) aRf(CS) nTn Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (42 images)
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-0.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-1.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-2.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-3.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-4.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-5.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-6.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-7.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-8.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-9.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-10.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-11.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-12.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-13.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-14.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-15.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-16.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-17.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-18.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-19.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-20.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-21.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-22.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-23.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-24.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-25.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-26.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-27.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-28.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-29.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-30.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-31.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-32.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-33.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-34.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-35.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-36.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-37.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-38.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-39.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-40.
   Xanthium strumarium   -   Image Code: XNTST-41.

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