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Photo Credit: James Andre, retrieved from (Image ID: 0000 0000 0105 2764), modified from the original

Common Name: Puncturevine 

Scientific Name: Tribulus terrestris

Habitat: disturbed areas, roadsides, grassland, dry grassland

Provincial Designation: Prohibited Noxious

Prohibited Noxious weeds are plant species that are designated as “prohibited noxious” in the Alberta weed regulation. Prohibited noxious weeds must be destroyed, meaning all growing parts need to be killed or the plant's reproductive mechanisms need to be rendered non-viable. 


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.

Legislated Because

Puncturevine 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.  

Learn more about this species:

See Fact Sheets — Alberta Invasive Species Council

For More Information

Weed Identification


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311


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