The common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is one of several weed species that have prickly bur seed pods. When humans or mammals pass by, the burs attach themselves to clothing and fur. When the bur is picked or brushed off, the seeds can sprout in a new area.
Cockleburs can be found in all the contiguous states in the U.S. This weed can grow in most soil types and in most environments. It often sprouts up when ground is disturbed - its seeds can grow even after being buried in the ground for over a decade!
Farmers, gardeners and ranchers all want to get rid of this weed. Besides taking over crops, the young plants have been known to poison livestock.
This photo is of a cocklebur plant with dried seed pods. ~~ photo by Angela Johnson