Acanthoxanthium spinosum Fourr.
Xanthium armatum Humb. & Bonpl. ex Wallr.
Xanthium brachyacanthum Wallr.
Xanthium canadense Sabbat. ex Nyman
Xanthium canescens Widder
Xanthium catharticum Kunth.
Xanthium chrysacanthum Costa ex Widder
Xanthium xanthocarpum Wallr.
Common Name: Spiny Cocklebur
Xanthium spinosum is a much branched annual herb, generally erect and somewhat woody, often 30 - 60cm tall, but sometimes up to 100cm tall and 150cm wide[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Xanthium spinosum is a highly invasive plant classified as one of the world's worst weeds, and is now widely distributed throughout many regions of the world, where it is a common agricultural and pasture weed and a declared noxious species in many countries. Originating in South America, it has spread widely, probably via its spiked seeds which attach to animals and clothing or are a contaminant of hay or other products. It produces prolific amounts of seed that germinate easily. The plant can quickly dominate large areas, outcompeting crops, forage plants and native flora. Control is possible but requires significant effort[
]. Most members of this genus are toxic to grazing animals and are usually avoided by them[
]. The seed also contains toxins[
S. America - Chile, ?Argentina. Widespread as a weed through the subtropical and temperate zones.
Damp or seasonally wet, alkaline soils, waste places, margins of agriculture;; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
]. Found mainly in a variety of disturbed habits caused by anthropogenic activity[
Xanthium spinosum has proved remarkably adaptable to a wide range of climates and other environmental conditions, with the exception only of very cold polar/tundra conditions and very hot and dry or moist lowland tropical climates. In tropical regions it is generally only found at high elevations[
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring moist conditions and requiring a sunny position[
Plants often self sow.
The whole plant is an active styptic for both local and general application[
]. It is said to be a valuable and sure specific in the treatment of hydrophobia[
]. The plant is also diaphoretic, diuretic and sedative[
An infusion of the root has been used as an emetic[
Seed - sow spring in situ. The seed requires plenty of moisture in order to germinate.