Tribulus terrestris

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Scientific Name Tribulus terrestris USDA PLANTS Symbol TRTE
Common Name Puncture Vine, Goathead ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 29057
Family Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop) SEINet
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Description Life zones and habitat: Plains and foothills (3500 to 7500 ft.); often in sandy soils along roadsides, disturbed areas and cultivated fields.
Plant: Low-growing, prostrate annual; stems with long, silky hairs, branched from the base and forming mats to 3 ft. wide.
Leaves: Opposite, even-pinnate, 3/4 to 2 inches long overall with 3 to 9 pairs of elliptic to oblong or ovate leaflets 1/8 to 1/2-inch long; one of each pair of leaves smaller or missing, lowest pair of leaflets unequal in size; upper leaf surface mostly smooth, lower surface and margins with long silky hairs.
Inflorescence: Solitary, small (~3/8-inch across) flowers arising from axils of smaller or absent leaves; 5 sepals narrowly lanceolate-ovate; 5 yellow petals and 10 stamens with yellow anthers.
Bloom Period: June to September.
Fruit: Hard bur with two larger spines, the bane of bicycle riders.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield, SEINet and Colorado Department of Agriculture.
BONAP Distribution Map

Colorado Status:
Noxious Weed

© Tom Lebsack 2021