Puncturevine (Tribulus spp.) photo: Lisa Scott


Tribulus spp.


  • Yellow, 5 petalled flowers
  • Leaves are opposite, hairy, 1-3 inches long and divided into leaflets
  • Stems are greenish-red, branches spread from the center of the plant, and can spread up to 2m
  • Seed heads are sharp – they can injure bare feet and pets paws or puncture bike tires!

Introduction and spread

  • Spiny seeds can easily embed themselves into bike tires, clothing or pets fur and travel to new areas.

Consequences of invasion

  • Poses a serious threat to agriculture and recreation
  • Quickly develops a deep taproot and aggressively competes for water and nutrients needed by trees, field crops and native plants
  • Can make hay become unusable as sharp spines of seed can injure mouth and digestive track of animals
  • Can be toxic to sheep and cattle, causing nitrate poisoning, blindness and death
  • Can ruin outdoor equipment and the paws of pets

Status in the CKISS region

  • Puncturevine is classified as Regional EDRR on the CKISS Annual Priority List.
  • Regional EDRR species are either not yet present in the region or have less than ten known sites in the region.
  • The goal for these species is eradication if they are detected.
  • To learn more about how CKISS classifies and manages invasive species, see our Invasive Species Priority Lists page.

Integrated pest management options

  • Can be easily removed by hand if detected early. Ensure removal of entire taproot and dispose at local landfill. Do not drop any seeds onto the ground
  • Become PlantWise to prevent planting puncturevine in your garden.
  • Once seed bank has established, monitor and remove plants as they emerge and continue to do so for several years
  • Shallow tilling of seedlings or small plants can be effective in larger areas
  • Make sure to thoroughly check clothing, pets, vehicles and equipment for seeds
  • Report this weed if you see it!
Play, Clean, Go! Invasive seeds and plant parts can ‘hitch hike’ onto your clothing and gear. Photo L Scott

Additional resources