Xanthium

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Xanthium

plant genus in the family Asteraceae; the seeds contain a potent toxin, carboxyatractyloside, which causes acute hepatic necrosis. Poisoning results from eating the seeds, or the cotyledons of the young seedlings that grow in profusion after rain falls. Includes X. ambrosioides, X. californicum, X. cavanillesii (South American cockleburr), X. chinense, X. italicum (Italian cockleburr), X. orientale, X. occidentale (X. pungens, Noogoora burr), X. spinosum (Bathurst burr), X. strumarium. Called also cockleburr.

Xanthium strumarium complex
includes, as a group, all of the above species except X. spinosum.