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Bur Cucumber (Sicyos angulatus L.)

Crop Impacts: Soybeans and Corn

Bur Cucumber 1

About Bur Cucumber:

Bur Cucumber is a summer annual broadleaf that is a viny and aggressive weed that can significantly reduce crop yield. It can be found all along Eastern North American from Quebec and Ontario to Florida.

Family: Gourd or Melon Family (Cucurbitaceae)

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Bur Cucumber Scouting and Prevention:

Bur Cucumber has lightly fuzzy vines that can grow up to an astonishing 15 to 25 feet long. Their leaves are almost circular in shape with 3 to 5 shallow lobes on them. Bur Cucumber produces white to green flowers that bloom from August to September. There are male flowers, which form elongated clusters on long stems, and female flowers that are found at the end of short stems in round clusters. The fruits of this weed are borne in clusters of 3 to 10. These fuzzy, yellow fruits that are covered with prickly bristles are about ¼ inches thick and ½ to ¾tall. Inside each of these fruits is an egg-shaped, flat seed.

Common locations

  • - Damp soil
  • - Fields with no-till production systems


Prevention of Bur Cucumber is less expensive and less time-consuming then trying to control it. Make sure when you seed a new area you do so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around instead of through it. Make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean to make sure no seeds are transferred.

Bur Cucumber Control:

Cultural Control

The best way to get ahead of this weed is to pull out or mow the weed as soon as it is found, which should be sometime during the spring. Overtime, with repetitive pulling and hoeing of young plants, it will reduce the number of seeds being released and in turn shrink the number of Bur Cucumber weeds.

Chemical Control

Post-emergence herbicide with the active ingredient dicamba provides good control for Bur Cucumbers. However, it cannot be used under a canopy of trees and/or shrubs due to the fact that with rain or irrigation, the herbicide will get into root system of these wanted plants and kill them. Glyphostate is another active ingredient in herbicides such as roundup. Glyphosate needs to be applied while the plant is still young, and can be sprayed around trees as it will not be taken in by the roots of the tree. It is important that you apply glyphosate on designated areas; it will kill anything green it comes into contact with. Overall, it is important to know that these herbicides work best in 15 °C to 25°C weather and should not be applied if the temperature will be over 30°C, or if there is rain within 48 hours after application. To avoid harming desired plants with the herbicide, drift spray when the air is still.

Latin / Alternative Bur Cucumber names:

  • - Sicyos angulatus L.
  • - Sicyos anguieux
  • - Figue sauvage

Additional Bur Cucumber Resources