(Tribulus terrestris L.)

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Goathead, Mexican sandbur, Texas sandbur, bullhead, caltrop


Puncturevine is a summer annual broadleaf weed that generally grows low to the ground forming dense mats 2 to 5 feet in diameter. The stems radiate out from a central point at the taproot. The plant does not root from the stems. The hairy leaves are opposite each other and divided into four to eight pairs of leaflets. Yellow flowers up to 1/2 inch wide with five petals are found in the leaf axils. After the flower is pollinated, a seedpod forms that is a cluster of five flat spiny burrs containing up to five seeds. As the seedpod matures, it turns gray or tan, gets very hard and breaks apart so that the individual spikes, or burrs, can stick into passing animals and tires. These burrs disperse by adhering to tires, shoes and clothing of people, and the fur, feathers, or feet of animals. Puncturevine germinates in the spring and summer from seeds produced the previous year. The plant may start flowering within 3 weeks of germination and flowering will continue throughout the summer. Seeds are primarily dormant in the first season, but may germinate the next spring. Seeds may remain viable in the soil for up to ten years.


Puncturevine has hairy leaves and with the yellow flowers. This plant also grows low to the ground and the burs have 2-3 sharp spines.


Puncturevine can be found in pastures, cultivated fields, and waste areas, along right of ways and also along walking paths.


There are herbicides and other control methods that commonly control puncturevine. For more information on these herbicides and other control methods contact the SCWP office.


Puncturevine plants cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. This plant can cause injury to livestock and will puncture bicycle tires.