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This species, commonly known as Field burrweed, may occur in prostrate form with a plant diameter of less than 25 cm, or in ascending form with height of two to seven cm. Stems are frequently purple-spotted or dark-colored. Leaves are pinnate, with leaflets more or less palmate. Fruits are very spiny and inflict pain when stepped upon with bare feet. This plant is considered a significant invasive species where it is found in North America, and considerable expense is given to its eradication; moreover, significant environmental impacts further arise, when chemicals are commonly used as control agents and result in water pollution from ensuing runoff.