One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A herbaceous plant of the daisy family with broad leaves and burred fruits, native to tropical America.
Genus Xanthium, family Compositae: two or three species
- ‘It is a native insect which feeds on wild hosts including cocklebur, sunflowers, and common and giant ragweed, as well as soybeans.’
- ‘The sting nematode has a wide host range that includes corn, soybean, and numerous weeds, such as morning glory, crabgrass, and cocklebur.’
- ‘Both cocklebur and magnolia blossoms must either be harvested and dried for future use or they may be purchased from Chinese pharmacies.’
- ‘In addition to corn it may feed on weeds, including cocklebur.’
- ‘I spent whole summers with a group of guys, chopping cockleburs and button weeds in the cornfields and talking the way teenage boys talk when they're off by themselves.’
Mid 19th century: from cockle + burr.
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