Canadian: Occurs in BC and ON (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).
Worldwide: Exact native range obscure, possibly native to Africa, Europe, temperate Asia and Australia (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2). Introduced in North and South America. Found throughout the United States with the exception of a few states in the eastern and northeastern regions (Kartesz 2011Footnote 3).
Duration of life cycle
Annual or biennial
Seed or fruit type
Bur, divided into 5 nutlets , each nutlet contains 2-4 seeds (DiTomaso and Healy 1993Footnote 4)
Nutlet length: 5.0 - 6.0 mm
Nutlet width: 3.5 - 4.0 mm
Seed length: 2.0 - 5.0 mm
Nutlet is wedge-shaped, three-angled in cross-section, with several spines.
Nutlet is dull and woody
Nutlet is straw yellow to grey-yellow
Seed contained in the nutlet is wedge-shaped and pale yellow.
Largest spine on nutlet is 5.0-6.0 mm long.
Habitat and Crop Association
Cultivated fields, pastures, gardens, orchards, vineyards, roadsides and disturbed areas (Darbyshire 2003Footnote 5, CABI 2016Footnote 6). A weed of cereals, corn, legumes, tree crops, vegetables and ornamentals across the world (CABI 2016Footnote 6).
Puncture vine fruits easily become attached to livestock, people, farm machinery, and tires for dispersal. The spiny fruits are aligned so that at least one spine is pointing upwards when lying on the soil surface. Puncture vine may also be dispersed by water or as a contaminant in hay, straw, manure, sand, gravel, and dried fruit (CABI 2016Footnote 6).
One plant can produce more than 5000 nutlets (CABI 2016Footnote 6). Seeds may remain viable in the ground for up to 5 years (University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources 2006Footnote 7).