Weed of the Month: Sandburs

Though not toxic, burs found on the plants can cause mechanical damage if horses consume them.
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Weed of the Month: Field Sandbur
Field sandbur. | Photo: Oklahoma State University
Common name: Sandburs
Scientific name: Cenchrus spinifex Cav. (field sandbur)
Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fern (longspine sandbur)

Life Cycle: Annual
Origin: Native
Poisonous: No

Sandbur is the common name for several annual grasses that produce burs with multiple sharp spines. These grasses grow in pastures, landscape beds, gardens, fields, and roadsides. Field sandbur and longspine sandbur are the two most common species, whereas southern sandbur grows primarily in southern states. All are native to the Americas.

Sandburs are particularly problematic at maturity. Because of their sharp burs, they inhibit grazing of desirable grasses and make it difficult for horses to selectively graze around the sandbur. Sandburs are major weeds of bermudagrass hay fields. Infested hay is undesirable because the burs inhibit hay consumption

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