[size=75]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [/size]
Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant in the family Zygophyllaceae, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World in southern Europe, southern Asia, throughout Africa, and in northern Australia. It can thrive even in desert climates and poor soil.
Like many weedy species, this plant has many common names. Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, and Goathead are the most widely used; others include automobile-weed, bindy eye, bindii, bullhead, burnut, burra gokhroo, calthrops, cat’s head, common dubbeltjie, devil’s thorn, devil’s weed, doublegee, dubbeltje, gokshura, ground bur-nut, isiHoho, land caltrop, Maltese cross, Mexican sandbur, puncture weed, rose, small caltrops, sticker, tackweed, and Texas sandbur (also T. micrococcus).
It is a taprooted herbaceous perennial plant that grows as a summer annual in colder climates. The stems radiate from the crown to a diameter of about 10 cm to over 1 m, often branching. They are usually prostrate, forming flat patches, though they may grow more upwards in shade or among taller plants. The leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets less than a quarter-inch long. The flowers are 4–10 mm wide, with five lemon-yellow petals. A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily falls apart into four or five single-seeded nutlets. The nutlets or “seeds” are hard and bear two sharp spines, 10 mm long and 4–6 mm broad point-to-point. These nutlets strikingly resemble goats’ or bulls’ heads; the “horns” are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires and to cause painful injury to bare feet.
The Latin name tribulus originally meant the caltrop (a spiky weapon), but in Classical times already meant this plant as well.
The plant is widely naturalised in the Americas and also in Australia south of its native range. In some states in the United States, it is considered an invasive species.
It has been reported that Puncture Vine seeds have been used in homicidal weapons in southern Africa; murderers smear them with the poisonous juice of Acokanthera venenata and put them where victims are likely to step.
Tribulus terrestris has long been a constituent in tonics in Indian ayurveda practice, where it is known by its Sanskrit name, “gokshura.”