• Puncturevine Plant 215x150

Category C Weed

Caltrop family (Zygophyllaceae)

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Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)


    • Prostrate; multiple stems that spread radially from crown; up to 3 ft. long (sometimes longer); highly branched, green to reddish-brown and often hairy


      • Opposite, usually hairy, pinnate-compound, 1-2 in. long, with 3-7 pairs of leaflets; leaflets oval and 0.2-0.6 in. long; edges (margins) are smooth


        • Yellow, 0.2-0.6 in. diameter, with 5 petals; arise from leaf axils

        • Fruit is a woody bur that breaks into 5 sections (nutlets) at maturity; each nutlet has 2 stout, spines and contains 3-5 seeds


          • Slender, deep taproot; can associate with nitrogen-fixing bacteria


            • Grows best in dry, sandy soils; often infests roadsides, crop fields and waste areas; known to occur in all Nevada counties

            • Annual; reproduces by seed

            • Also known as goathead, Mexican sandbur, Texas sandbur and tackweed; spines on fruit can cause injury to livestock and humans and can also puncture tires; foliage can be toxic to livestock


              • Frequent hand-removal or tillage prior to seed production

              • Two insect biological control agents are available

              • Apply 2,4-D, glyphosate, dicamba, chlorsulfuron or imazapic to young, actively growing plants