Puncturevine (Fremont County Declared Noxious Weed)

Puncturevine (Fremont County declared weed)

  • Tribulus terrestris
  • Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop family)

Introduced from southern Europe, now widely scattered over much of the U.S. It grows in pastures, cultivated fields, waste areas, and along roads. The hard, spiny burs damage wool, are undesirable in hay, and may be injurious to livestock. Bicycle tires can be punctured by the burs.

Growth Habit: Annual; prostrate or somewhat ascending, mat forming, with long trailing stems.

Leaves: Opposite, hairy, divided into four to eight pairs of leaflets, each about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and oval.

Flowers: Yellow, 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide with five petals, borne in the leaf axils.

Seeds: At maturity, sectioned seeds break into tack-like structures with sharp, sometimes curving spines, each section two- to four-seeded. Flowering and seed production occur from July to October.

Other: Also called goatheads, Mexican sandbur and Texas sandbur, puncturevine is easily spread long distances by animals and vehicles due to its hitchhiking sharp burs.

Status: State Designated Noxious Weed, Category 3 Fremont County. Regional. No tolerance of further spread, control and management of current infestations and aggressive control in areas otherwise free of these weeds.

Control: An effective mechanical control is to fold back the sprawling growth and dig up the taproot, removing the entire plant and sweeping up seeds. Chemical controls can also be effective. FCWP offers a 40 percent Cost Share on chemicals for controlling this species. Contact your local weed and pest office for further recommendations.

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