Xanthium occidentale

Noogoora bur

Also known as:

Common cockle bur

Family: Asteraceae

Origin: North and South America

Noogoora Bur plant on dark background.
An annual herb that grows up to 2.5m tall. Roots are shallow and easy to hand pull, and stems are soft and easily broken.
Photo credit: Trevor James, AgResearch

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Progressive containment, council delivered
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Annual herb < 2.5 m tall. Taproot is shallow. Stems are blotchy purple and hairy. Leaves are large and serrated, with dark green tops and pale green undersides. Flowers are small and yellow. Burs are small, hard, brown, woody and hooked.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell noogoora bur within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant noogoora bur within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will manage noogoora bur at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see noogoora bur anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Pasture, cropland, plantations, wasteland, disturbed or open sites.


Seeds dispersed by water and attachment to animal pelts. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of clothes and machinery.

Impact on environment

Nuisance pest of pasture and crops, especially maize. Poisonous to livestock and hooked burs cause sores in livestock mouths and hooves.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Noogoora Bur spiky seed bur.
Named for its spiky burs that carry seeds. Mature burs are often caught on clothing or livestock and are spread to other areas.
Photo credit: Trevor James, AgResearch