Bathurst bur
Spiny Cocklebur
Asteraceae - Xanthium spinosum

What does it look like?

Bathurst bur is a spiny plant that grows up to 1m tall; it has well-branched upright stems with triple spines grouped in opposite pairs. The leaves are three-pronged, narrow and pointed with a white midrib above and a whitish colour on the underside. Bathurst bur has inconspicuous flowers and the fruit are bur-like with hooked spines.

Bathurst bur can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions, although it prefers moist soil, as it has a high water requirement. It is usually found on fertile, disturbed or bare ground, particularly in pasture and cultivated areas.

Why is it a problem?

Bathurst bur is a highly invasive weed and can quickly dominate large areas, out-competing crops, forage plants and native flora. It spreads entirely by seeds, which are within the spiny burs. Seed may lie dormant for many years before germinating, forming a very long-lived seed bank.

Control Methods

Site management:

  • Avoid soil disturbance and bare ground.
  • Maintain good pasture cover to prevent re-establishment.
  • Replant with native species where appropriate.

Physical control:

  • Grub out plants before flowering (March to April).

Herbicide control:

Spray before plants set seed with either:

  • 1g metsulfuron + 20ml penetrant per 10L water.
  • 120ml Tordon Max per 10L water.
  • 25ml clopyralid per 10L water. *Do not use clopyralid in home gardens*.
  • 100ml glyphosate per 10L water. 

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 

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