X is for ...

Xanthium, more commonly known as cocklebur.

(photo credit: Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)

Yes, at least one type of this pesky weed is considered an herb, used medicinally, and is a common ingredient in Chinese medicines.  The fruit of Xanthium strumarium is said to be pleasant-tasting (I think I'll take their word for it, no tasting a cocklebur fruit for me, thank you very much.), warming (no need for warming these days either), and relieves pain, relaxes spasms, and also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antirheumatic effects (this according to the Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses by Deni Bown). 

So, perhaps the next time you go for a hike and get cockleburs stuck in your shoelaces (at least that's what happens to me), you will at least know that they do have some good purpose on the earth.  Really. 

(photo credit: Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)

Jenny Matlock 

Please visit Jenny Matlock today for more Alphabe-Thursday fun with the letter X!


  1. Glad they have some redeaming value. LOL
    I just remember how difficult it was when they got caught up in the fur of my cat or dog.
    Happy 4th to you! ~ sarah

  2. i always learn something here :D

  3. There are so many things we don't know. This was one of them.Have a wonderful 4th. Debbie

  4. Glad to know they serve a purpose~ I'll take their word for the pleasant taste too, Have a Happy 4th :-)

  5. I am glad they are here for a reason. I didn't think it was a good one until I read your post.

  6. Clever of you to use the scientific name for a plant to do this post. Well done!
    Best wishes,

    Anna's X-words

  7. Wow! I bet no one came up with that as their X word! X-cellent!

  8. I have gotten them in my clothes, my socks, my hair, they are little buggers! I have a very difficult time getting them out of my dog's hair. I don't care that they have a purpose, I do not like them!

  9. Those things are a pain, literally!~ I have really enjoyed this journey on the Alphabet trail!!~

  10. Oooo...I don't think I'm going to be eating one of those things....well, ever, frankly. Thanks for the info, though!

  11. very intelligent post.
    lovely plants to learn from and think about...

  12. The things you learn when you stay in school! Thanks for this information and for Miss Jenny keeping us on our toes!

  13. getting them out of dogs hair is really difficult ... i'm glad to hear that some redeaming values.

  14. Always look on the bright side of life!
    I've no need for warming these days either, LOL

  15. It's supposed to be 115 here today so I will not be in need of any warming herbs...thank you very much!

    And thank you for much for linking this informative post to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "X"!

    I always enjoy visiting you. You really help make this meme Xstra special!


  16. Yes, they get stuck in ones shoelaces, and socks, and in the cat fur and dog fur, and..... :-) Awful little things!

  17. The burrs do get stuck in everything, don't they! Nature's velcro :) I'd rather have them than cleavers though!

  18. i have seen my pets eat them...but let's face it...they would eat just about anything!
    So I agree...pass that platter, right on by!
    Cute post :)

    Blessings From The Muse
    A Diva's Hammer Prose
    X Post:
    ~Excursion of Xeranthemum~

  19. Wow I never knew all that about this plant...I will always remember that because of your X post...bkm

  20. I always wonder who was the first to try something like this - "hmm, Runs with Fire want a taste of this yummy cocklebur?" "Sure Crazy Fox looks delish!"
    great post!


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