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Puncture vine: Tribulus terrestris

Puncture vine is a prostrate, mat-forming summer annual. It has small leaflets and small yellow flowers with 5 petals.

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Puncture vine flower

Fruits containing seeds are a sharp, spiny burr that can easily puncture a bicycle inner tube (or gardener’s skin!).

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Spiny fruits of puncture vine

This weed is found only in thin, less vigorous turf given insufficient water. It will pull easily out of moist soils. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the the burrs.

You can discourage the growth of puncture vine by increasing the turf density with cultural practices detailed in CSU Fact Sheet 7.202.

Control

A 2,4-D combination herbicide will work best on younger plants. Pre-emergent herbicides such as trifluralin + benefin or dithiopyr applied in spring can provide some control.

Photographs courtesy of Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010