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Tribulus terrestris - L.

Common Name Caltrop, Puncturevine
Family Zygophyllaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry open habitats, often as a weed in Europe[50]. Sandy seashores in Japan[58].
Range Europe - N. France and eastwards to E. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Tribulus terrestris Caltrop, Puncturevine

Tribulus terrestris Caltrop, Puncturevine


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tribulus terrestris is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from April to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked[144, 177]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Fruit - cooked. The unexpanded seed capsules are ground into a powder and made into a bread[2, 144, 177, 179]. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[2].

References   More on Edible Uses

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 79.09%
  • Protein: 7.22g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 4.6g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 1600mg; Phosphorus: 80mg; Iron: 9.22mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 41mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Abortifacient  Alterative  Anthelmintic  Aphrodisiac  Carminative  Demulcent  Diuretic  Galactogogue  
Infertility  Leprosy  Pectoral

The seed is abortifacient, alterative, anthelmintic, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, pectoral and tonic[4, 147, 176, 178, 218]. It stimulates blood circulation[147]. A decoction is used in treating impotency in males, nocturnal emissions, gonorrhoea and incontinence of urine[4, 240]. It has also proved effective in treating painful urination, gout and kidney diseases[240]. The plant has shown anticancer activity[218]. The flowers are used in the treatment of leprosy[218]. The stems are used in the treatment of scabious skin diseases and psoriasis[218]. The dried and concocted fruits are used in the treatment of congestion, gas, headache, liver, ophthalmia and stomatitis[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and are not sure how successful it will be in Britain. There are conflicting reports on its hardiness - according to one report it is native to N. France which should make it hardy in Britain[50] whilst another report says that it is only hardy in zone 10 which means that it is not frost tolerant[200]. We would suggest treating it as a frost tender annual and then experimenting with its hardiness. It is likely to require a well-drained dry to moist soil and is also likely to be tolerant of maritime exposure. The plant is very fast growing from seed[50]. A good bee plant[156].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frost.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

TEMPERATE ASIA: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Egypt (Sinai), Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Russian Federation-Ciscaucasia (Ciscaucasia), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation-Western Siberia (Western Siberia (southeast)), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, China, Japan TROPICAL ASIA: India, Pakistan AUSTRALASIA: Australia (north) EUROPE: Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Russian Federation-European part (European part (south)), Moldova, Ukraine (incl. Krym), Albania, Bulgaria, Greece (incl. Crete), Croatia, Italy (incl. Sardinia, Sicily), Romania, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Baleares), France (incl. Corsica), Portugal AFRICA: Spain (Canarias), Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, South Africa, Madagascar

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Peter Woods   Thu Jun 8 2006

Please don't introduce this weed to new areas. If you do and it grows well, no one will ever again walk barefoot in your corner of the world. Its caltrop-like seeds always have one wicked thorn pointing straight up to impale your foot.

Barbara Gilles   Wed Mar 21 2007

Peter Woods is correct about Tribulus terrestris. It is a highly invasive nuisance weed. I'm surprised this page doesn't give the common names, and I'm also surprised that it claims that there is little information available. The plant is more commonly known as goat's head (from the shape of the burrs) or puncture vine. Around where I live, it's infamous for puncturing bicycle tires. During the summer, I track the burrs in every day and have had to stop using my exercise ball for fear it will be punctured on an undetected burr that grabs onto the carpet. I don't dare walk bardfoot in the house, or with sandals in the front lawn. In farm settings, the burrs make problems for livestock, containg a substance that induces photosensitivy and is harmful to the liver. There are quite a few webpages about various governments' efforts to eradicate this weed. This page mentions its habitat as cultivated beds; it is an opportunistic weed that grows rampant wherever it gains a foothold. It is widespread in the United States, in Australia, and in other areas of the world.

Nate   Tue Mar 25 2008

Can anyone present any information which isnt laden with paranoia about the spread of this genus? I am looking to cultivate it, (yes in an area where it grows already in australia) and would like to know how to go about gathering the "fruit" for consumption. Is it wrong to learn all aspects of a species regardless of what potential harm it might cause. A bit of common sense tends to previal where paranoia fails ;)

qusai   Fri Jun 27 2008

not clear specifications of uses and if there is side efsect for long time using or no

Enrique Quiroz   Sun Jul 6 2008

I would like information on how to obtain tribulus seed for cultivation

   Sat Sep 6 2008

Hello, I am from Belize living in Mexico. I read your article on the plant, tribulus terrestis. Is it possible to obtain a plant from you and how? In is not known in this part of the world. Thanks, Enrique

Mark Paulis   Tue Oct 20 2009

I recommend the Dr. Max Powers Testosterone Boost which is Tribulus supplements....it will give you the same sex drive boost as any other Tribulus product. How much is that? Hard to say for a 21-year old kid. My testosterone is already peaked. Although I will tell you that I calculated the potency, dosage, and contents of this particular bottle and it's more bang for your buck than any other Tribulus product offered. So if it's straight Tribulus at a great price you are looking for, go with the Dr Max Powers Testosterone Boost. Dr Max products have always done me good (like their stack) and this product is no different.

leo   Sat Jan 23 2010

we have it here in my country..interested? email me

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Subject : Tribulus terrestris  
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