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Tribulus terrestris L.
Family Zygophyllaceae
Common name: Caltrop, Cat-head

Tribulus terrestris L. APNI*

Description: Prostrate herb with branches to 80 cm long.

Leaves with 4–8 pairs of leaflets; leaflets ± oblong, 4–12 mm long, to c. 4 mm wide.

Sepals 2–4 mm long. Petals 3–6 mm long, 1.2–2 times as long as sepals. Stigma elongated pyramidal; style no longer than stigma.

Fruit slightly hairy; cocci 4–8 mm long, wrinkled-muricate dorsally, with 2 very divergent spines 3–8 mm long above, and 2 shorter basal spines 1–4 mm long pointing downwards; seeds 2–4 per coccus.


Flowering: spring–autumn.

Distribution and occurrence: Widespread weed, mostly along tracks and around habitation, especially in inland districts. Native at least to Mediterranean region but now cosmopolitan weed.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *NT, *CT, *ST, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *NWP, *SWP, *NFWP, *SFWP, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *W.A. *S.A. *N.T.
AVH map***

Inland specimens with larger, more rounded fruit, and a small, more rounded fruit with somewhat shorter spines may represent 2 separate species (possibly native).

Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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