Even a Naturalist Can Dislike a Plant

At this time of year, I dislike the most annoying giant cockleburs that grow here. There are fewer now than there was at one time, thanks to diligent mowing but the horses will find them, since we can’t quite get to all the spots where they like to grow.

Pulled from Apache’s forelock.

Poor Fiona had them all over her legs and hips today. They must be so annoying. And Mabel hid some in her mane, too!

I’m keeping them here so they won’t have a chance to grow!

They hurt like the dickens to pull out. I remember one year Sara just cut off Pardner’s forelock (he was our ancient buddy who lived to be at least 30).

Don’t pull mine out!

They are very sturdy plants when mature. The chickens roosted on one last fall. And they have nice leaves and actually quite beautiful, pink flowers. But no, I don’t like them.

Rough cocklebur

They are Xanthium strumarium. They are a North American plant but have taken over other places, as burs do. We call them buffalo burs, but maybe that’s another plant.

I just don’t like them.

PS: my friend Mary W sent along a scientific article about the uses of these burs in traditional Chinese medicine to treat headaches and sinus issues. It’s apparently also been used in Pakistan as a biodiesel fuel. Aha! We can burn them in our vehicles! Kidding. Here’s the link. They may be a pain to the horses and Fiona and Pickle too; but the plant has a long use as a traditional herbal medicine.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

7 thoughts on “Even a Naturalist Can Dislike a Plant”

  1. Everything has its value! Even these. I am really bothered by them with the horses’ manes and tails and my dog’s coat. Hurricane Harvey brought them in for us. We did not have them before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those things are the worst, you can think you are no where near them and then your covered in them or you find that lone one that just irritates you for the rest of the day even though you think you plucked it off. So yeah I hate those things too..And it is even worse when the horses get them in their manes and tails..

    Liked by 1 person

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