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Puncturevine - Tribulus terrestris
Family: Zygophyllaceae

THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Description

Plants are pubescent with weak, often prostrate stems. The stems are pubescent, 20-100 cm long, radiating from a central crown and sometimes branching from the same leaf axils as the flowers, forming mats many meters wide. The leaves are pubescent, 2-6 cm long, short petioled, even-pinnately compound. The leaves are opposite and one of each pair is distinctly larger than the other, the larger with 12-18 leaflets, the smaller with 8-10. The leaflets are opposite, oblong, 5-15 mm long, 2-5 mm wide, pubescent on the lower surface and the midrib of the upper surface. Flowers are 8-10 mm wide, solitary from the axils of the small leaves, peduncles 2-15 mm long. The petals are yellow. The body of the fruit is ca. 1 cm thick, splitting at maturity into 5 segments each of which has a line of horny processes down the back and 2 lateral spines toward the center.

Interesting facts

The species are annual or perennial and, due to the branching, prostrate growth form, can cover a very large area of the substrate. The species occur in many states, growing in sandy soils along railways and roadways, backyards and waste places, and in some areas, along dune beaches.

Native plants are essentially excluded from places where puncturevines grow. The spines on the fruits may cause mechanical injuries to animals feeding on hay containing the fruit. A photosensitizing agent in the plant causes poisoning in sheep when they eat flowering plants. The spiny fruits are a problem in the areas in which they grow; in parking lots, they cause punctures in rubber tires of bicycles and automobiles.

Links to more information


Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

 

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