This is reprinted from a series published in our 1994 Nature Manitoba News. Text and art (adapted for digital use from illustrations) by Tom Reaume. Enjoy!
There are a couple of ways of getting to know this plant. You may be out looking for it intentionally, as I was on November 22, or you might discover it burs attached to a pant cuff or matte in your dog’s fur after a walk along the river.
It is known as Cocklebur by weekend botanists. Linnaeus named it Xanthium strumarium, and your dog calls it something else.