Photo Credit: James Andre, retrieved from calphotos.berkeley.edu (Image ID: 0000 0000 0105 2764), modified from the original
Native to the Mediterranean, puncturevine was most likely introduced to North America in shipments of imported sheep’s wool around 1900. It has also been used in herbal medicine as a general tonic.
Punturevine is a serious competitor of crops, especially in dry conditions. The burrs can be a nuisance as they can injure the feet of livestock causing suffering, infection, and lameness, especially in horses. The plants are also toxic to humans and grazing animals, particularly sheep.
The flowers of this weed are yellow, have five petals and are 4-10 mm wide.
The leaves are pinnate-shaped with 6-16 oblong leaflets. The leaflets have smooth edges and round tips. The stems have a red tinge and creep along the ground.
The plants rarely grow higher than 10 cm. The green and later brown fruits have conspicuous spines.