Sunday, April 13, 2008

Coastal Sandbur


The bane of my childhood bare feet.

We called these plants with sharp-pointed burs "sticker burs" or just "stickers" -- and we cursed them. Though my vocabulary of profane expressions wasn't nearly as advanced as it is today, the juvenile oaths I directed at Cenchrus sp. (probably Cenchrus spinifex) were just as intense as any I could conjure up today. I mean, what's the point of living in a climate that allows going without shoes for almost nine months of the year if these foot-piercing burs abound in all but the most carefully manicured lawns?



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7 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

My husky used to come back from his runs covered in burrs. I learned quickly how to get them out of all of that long tail fur w/o cutting it--vaseline. LIFESAVER! *L*

oldmanlincoln said...

Are these what we called cockle burrs? They look similar and the ones I know about stick to clothing and fur or hair. Nice photo.

Sandpiper said...

Ouch! That looks like it would be painful to step on.

Marvin said...

Thanks to all for the comments.

Abraham: I think (but am not certain) that these burs are different from what's commonly called a cockle bur. Most burs are only spiny enough to catch on clothing or fur. When these dry, they can pierce skin when stepped on. And, when they get even more dry, the barb usually breaks off. They rank very high on my list of things I do not regret leaving behind when I moved away from the Texas coast -- right on up at the top near fire ants.

smilnsigh said...

-sigh- That's an evil looking thing! Poor little kids...

Mari-Nanci

Old Wom Tigley said...

Ha! We have prickles over here that seemed to hide in the grass just waiting for young tender toes when I was young.. I remember standing on one and letting out a certain word.... it was my ear stinging then because my mother was just behind me.. Thanks for bringing that memory back..

Lisa at Greenbow said...

OUCH. they make my feet hurt just looking at them. Poor Luna used to get them in her feet when we would take her for a walk. The place where she got them is now developed so she doesn't have to worry about that anymore.