Tribulus terrestris: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terestris is a flowering plant in the Zygophyllaceae family.

The plant is a taprooted herbaceous perennial. In colder climes it grows as a summer annual. Its stems radiate from the crown to a diameter of about 10 cm reaching to over 1 m, and are often branching. They often form flat patches due to growing prostrate, though in shade or among taller plants they may grow more upwards.

The small pinnately compound leaves have leaflets less than 6 mm (a quarter-inch) long. The lemon-yellow flowers are 4–10 mm wide, each with five petals. The plant bears fruit a week after each flower blooms. The fruit that falls apart easily into four or five single-seeded nutlets. These nutlets or "seeds" are hard and have two to three sharp spines, 10 mm long and 4–6 mm broad point-to-point.

common names & nomenclature
The nutlets (seeds) resemble goats' or bulls' heads. The plant's common names stem from horns or puncture since the "horns" are sharp and can cause painful injury if one is poked, or can puncture thin tires such as on bicycles or lawn mowers. The gerenic name is from the Greek word meaning "water-chestnut", and is translated into Latin as tribulos. The Latin name tribulus originally referred to the "caltrop", which is a spiky weapon.

Also known as:
puncture vine, caltrop, yellow vine, goathead, bindy eye, bindii, bullhead, burnut, cat's head, devil's thorn, doublegee, dubbeltje, gokshura, ground bur-nut, mexican sandbur, puncture weed, gokshur

Tribulus Terrestris, the horned herb
Tribulus terrestris: Where in the World
habitat and range for tribulus terestris

Tribulus terrestris is native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World in southern Europe, southern Asia, throughout Africa, and Australia.

Tribulus terrestris: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris grows in sunny, dry open habitats. The plant is often considered a weed in Europe, and invasive in parts of the United States. In Japan it also grows on sandy seashores.

Prefers a well-drained dry to moist soil and is also likely to be tolerant of maritime exposure.

Tribulus terrestris grows from seed quickly. Sow in spring and transplant seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle. Plant out in the garden the following spring or summer.

Harvesting is done when seed pods are fully developed—ripe and green but not yet having turned to brown. Gloves are used while removing individual seed pods or they are brushed off with a spatula or other tool. Seed pods are rinsed and then dried for a few days. Harvest other plant parts during the same time or in fall. Dry and grind into powder for later use.

Store powdered tribulus terestris in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.