What Are The Little Spiky Balls In Grass Called?

What are spiky balls in grass?

The spiky balls found in grass are commonly known as burrs or stickers. These small, prickly seeds attach themselves to clothing, animal fur, and even human skin through a series of hooks or barbs that line their surface. They serve as a way for plants to disperse their seeds and spread to new areas. Although they can be annoying to encounter, burrs play an important role in the ecosystem.

Burrs come in various shapes and sizes, from the tiny seeds of the cleavers plant to the larger fruits of the burdock plant. Their spiky exteriors allow them to stick to surfaces easily, giving them an advantage over other forms of seed dispersal. Animals unwittingly carry these hitchhiking burrs with them as they move around, spreading the plant’s progeny far and wide.

Apart from being essential to plant propagation, burrs have also made notable appearances throughout history. During World War II, the US military used specially designed burr traps to capture enemy soldiers attempting to infiltrate American bases. Similarly, scientists have drawn inspiration from these resilient little seeds when developing adhesives for medical applications.

Get ready for a prickly situation as we explore the various varieties of spiky balls lurking in your lawn.

Types of spiky balls found in grass

When you stroll in the park or your lawn, you might wonder about the various spiky balls scattered on the grass. These peculiar structures are referred to as inflorescences, their purpose being to protect and disperse seeds. Let’s dive into the types of spiky balls found in grass.

  • The most common type of spiky ball is burr which consists of small hooks that attach to clothing or animal fur for seed dispersal.
  • Another type is cocklebur – larger and stickier than burr, capable of causing harm to both humans and animals.
  • Foxtails, named after their fox-tail-like appearance, are jagged grass awns that can penetrate the skin and cause infections if not removed promptly.
  • Bugleweed appears as tiny purple flowers holding tiny spikelets within them arranged close together forming distinctive structures similar to spikes.
  • Sticky willy or cleavers has long stalks with bristly hairs attaching the fruits, allowing it to cling easily and spread seeds efficiently.
  • Last but not least, sweet gale has catkin-like fruiting structures covered in fuzz that look like spiny balls from a distance.

Did you know these little spiky balls have evolved unique ways of surviving harsh climates and environmental pressures?

It’s fascinating to find out what unique traits nature beholds at times. Keep exploring such facts around us.

Don’t miss out on observing these natural wonders right beneath our feet whenever you go outdoors! Not all balls are meant for fetching – spiky balls in grass can be a prickly situation for pets and humans alike.

Why are spiky balls harmful to pets and humans?

Spiky balls found in grass can pose threats to the health and safety of pets and humans. These balls can cause injury or irritation by sticking to fur, skin, or clothing. Additionally, they can puncture paws, leading to infections. Inhaled spiky balls may also cause respiratory distress.

Moreover, some types of spiky balls contain toxic or allergenic compounds that can evoke reactions when contacted with the skin or ingested. These sharp projections might also attract curiosity from pets, which may accidentally consume them.

It is crucial to promptly remove any spiky balls on your pet’s coat, clothes or shoes immediately to avoid injuries. Pets should be under a watchful eye while playing outside near grass areas. Humans should also take proper measures to protect themselves while moving outdoors through grasslands containing these prickly spheres.

Interestingly, spiky balls possess special structures that allow them to disperse seeds effectively. By sticking onto anything passing by their way – animals’ skin & fur or human clothing – they unintentionally serve as vectors for spreading seeds of plants over long distances.

Walking barefoot in grass is like playing a game of spiky ball roulette – you never know when you’ll roll the dice and get pricked.

How to prevent spiky balls from causing harm

Small, spiky balls found in grass can cause injury if not prevented. Follow these steps to avoid harm:

  1. Mow your lawn regularly to keep the spiky balls from growing.
  2. Install lawn screens or fences around play areas to keep children and pets from getting injured.
  3. Wear protective clothing when working with grass and other plants that have spiky balls.
  4. Use a leaf blower or vacuum to remove any fallen spiky balls from walkways or driveways.
  5. Dispose of the removed spiky balls properly.

It is essential to note that certain types of spiky balls may be poisonous if ingested, so it is best to consult an expert before taking any action.

History suggests that these balls were initially used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes such as treating fevers and earaches. Today, they are primarily ornamental in nature and can be found in various hues, shapes and sizes in gardens all over the world.

Who knew that those little spiky balls in the grass had such a prickly personality?


In examining the spiky balls found in grass, it can be concluded that they are called burrs. These small, prickly fruits allow plants to disperse their seeds through attachment to passing creatures or objects.

Burrs come in various shapes and sizes with the ability to stick onto fur, clothing, or even skin due to their hooked structures. Animals like foxes and rabbits use burrs as a means of transportation for food but can also cause harm and discomfort. Additionally, burrs play an important role in natural selection by allowing certain plant species with stronger seed dispersal mechanisms to thrive over time.

It is interesting to note that burrs were the inspiration behind Velcro when Swiss engineer George de Mestral noticed how easily they attached themselves to his dog’s fur during a walk in the woods. He then developed a new fastening system based on their design which has become widely used today.

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Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.

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