goatheads, Tribulus terrestris

goatheads, Tribulus terrestris, California, Deep Springs Valley, Deep Springs College, Inyo Mountains watershed, elevation 1591 m (5220 ft).

One of the invasive annuals I most love to hate. Or as said in the noted scholarly work, Intermountain Flora, "a vile weed." It’s reputation is well deserved. Also known as puncturevine and caltrops, there are few non-metallic materials that the spiny fruits of this species cannot penetrate, including tires and thick leather gloves. Like the ancient weapon of war known as caltrops, the fruit segments tend to land with one barbed spine pointing upward, just waiting for a victim. (The name "goatheads" is also based on the shape of the fruit segments.)

Every species has a home, and this one is said to be native to the Mediterranean region, but as easily as it hitches rides on animals and vehicles (modern and ancient), it is hard to define native versus introduced ranges for it. In any case, it has now spread to most warmer parts of the terrestrial world, and is on the official noxious weed lists in many jurisdictions. Needless to say, this individual met its demise in a burn barrel (along with several others in the area) as soon as photography was complete.

Two specialized weevil species from India were brought into California for biological control of this species in the 1960s, but have only been partially successful since that time.

Posted by Jim Morefield on 2020-01-05 09:31:13

Tagged: , Deep Springs , California , United States , Zygophyllaceae , Caltrop Family , Tribulus , Tribulus terrestris , angiosperm , dicot , plant , flowers , flower , blossom , bloom , wfgna , flora , wildflower , wildflowers , CNPSok , goatheads , annual , annuals , desert , North America , Inyo County , Deep Springs Valley , Deep Springs College , Great Basin , July , summer , Olympus , EVOLT , E-510 , Olympus E-510 , JDM20172081 , taxonomy:family=Zygophyllaceae , taxonomy:genus=Tribulus , taxonomy:binomial=Tribulus terrestris , taxonomy:common=goatheads , geo:alt=1591m , weed , noxious weed , invasive , puncturevine , caltrops , yellow , 5petals

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