Javascript is required to view this site. Skip to main content
Text:    -   | Translate



Tribulus terrestris - Zygophyllaceae Family  

Other common name: Goathead

puncturevine_1_tile   puncturevine_2_tile  puncturevine_3_tile  puncturevine_4_tile       


  • Flowers:  Yellow, five petaled flowers, approximately ½ inch in size.
  • Seeds:  A spiny bur, containing 5 seeds; Matures to a tan or grey and is very hard. 200 - 5,000 seeds per plant that can remain viable in the soil for 4-5 years.
  • Leaves:  Small, hairy, opposite.
  • Flowering Time:  Mid summer. Germinates and goes to seed in 2 - 3 weeks.
  • Life cycle/ other: Annual forming dense mats reaching 2-5 ft in diameter.


  • The hard, spiky seed case can injure livestock, people, and pets when stepped on and can puncture bicycle and car tires.
  • Infestations crowd out desirable plants in orchards, turf, pastures, and on recreational trails.


Most effective control methods

  • Long-term control of puncturevine can be achieved by consistently reducing the amount of seed in the soil. Burrs that have dropped after removing the plant may be collected and removed by sweeping or raking the ground.
  • For small infestations of puncturevine in the home landscape and garden, the most effective management is removal of seedlings and older plants by digging or hoeing, taking care to also remove any burrs that fall off the plant.
  • For larger infestations, products containing oryzalin, benefin, or trifluralin will provide partial control of germinating seeds. 
  • Postemergence, products containing 2, 4-D, glyphosate, and dicamba are effective when applied to seedlings.
  • Biological control from two introduced weevils has been very effective in mild climates but has failed to establish in Utah, possibly because of colder winters.  

Large Images


K. Mosbruger, Salt Lake County Weed Control Program

Puncturevine: flower, foliage, seeds



Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,




Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,

Puncturevine: seeds (often referred to as goatheads)



K. Mosbruger, Salt Lake County Weed Control Program

Puncturevine: foliage and seed



Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

Puncturevine: flower and foliage



K. Mosbruger, Salt Lake County Weed Control Program

Puncturevine: seeds are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires



Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture,

Puncturevine: infestation




Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

Puncturevine: seed 


  • Puncturevine Fact Sheet

  • References

    Donaldson, S. & Rafferty, D. (2011, April 19). Identification and management of puncturevine [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    Invasive Species Compendium. (2018, June 08). Tribulus terrestris (puncture vine). Retrieved from

    Parker, R. & Boydston, R. (2007, March). Puncturevine [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    Peachey, E. (2018). Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris). Retrieved from

    University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. (2006, March). Puncturevine. Retrieved from

    Whitesides, R. (2012, May 16). How to take the bite out of puncturevine. Retrieved from