Weed Seed: Tribulus terrestris (Puncture vine)

Family

Zygophyllaceae

Common Name

Puncture vine

Regulation

Primary Noxious, Class 2 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

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)

Identification features

Size

  • Nutlet length: 5.0 - 6.0 mm
  • Nutlet width: 3.5 - 4.0 mm
  • Seed length: 2.0 - 5.0 mm

Shape

  • Nutlet is wedge-shaped, three-angled in cross-section, with several spines.

Surface Texture

  • Nutlet is dull and woody

Colour

  • Nutlet is straw yellow to grey-yellow

Other Features

  • 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).

General Information

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).

Photos

Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlets
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlets
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) seed
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) seed
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet, cross-section
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrrestris) nutlet, cross-section
Date modified: