Erect, stout stems and spreading branches that are angled and often red-spotted.
The leaves are alternate and can be up to 8" long and 6" across. They are cordate or ovate-cordate with bases that are well rounded or indented and tips that are broad and blunt. Leaves are covered with short stiff hairs that give the plant a rough feel.
It bears heart shaped leaves and oblong, hairy burs with strong, beaked prickles.
Flower Seed Head:
The male flowers are in inconspicuous heads clustered at the tips of branches; the female flowered heads are axillary, greenish in color with the 2 flowers in the head enclosed by the involucres.
Seeds are borne in a prickly burr that resembles Velcro and sticks to clothing and animal hair. The seeds are often covered with dark membranes. The young seedlings are poisonous and can be fatal to cattle and pigs.
Habitats include cropland (especially corn fields), fallow fields, the floodplain zone of rivers and ponds, degraded meadows that are poorly drained, dried-up mudholes, stabilized areas of beaches and sand dunes, vacant lots, and waste areas. Disturbed, poorly drained areas are preferred.