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Sheep's Bur


General description

Erect, clump-forming perennial herb < 80 cm tall. Leaves are divided into pairs of toothed, soft-haired leaflets. Flowers are spiny, green with purple anthers, and borne on narrow flower spikes. Fruits are covered with red, barbed spines.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell sheep's bur within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant sheep's bur within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any sheep's bur on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Grassland, pasture, riverbeds, roadsides, wastelands, plantations.

Seeds dispersed by attachment to wool, fur and clothing.

Burs get tangled in and contaminate sheep wool.

Site Management

Maintaining good pasture cover can prevent establishment or suppress an infestation. Prevent overgrazing especially in summer. Other herbicides are available for selective use in pasture.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig or grub out at least the first 5cm of taproot

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Seeds have spines.

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

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Sheep's bur - Main species image