Integrated Pest Management


Tribulus terrestris


Puncturevine (Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,


Puncturevine seedling (Phil Westra, Colorado State University,


Puncturevine burrs (Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,


  • low-growing matted plant with tan-colored stems that radiate out from a central point
  • leaves are opposite and compound, with four to eight pairs of oval-shaped leaflets
  • bright yellow flowers have five teardrop-shaped petals; flowers are up to 1/2 inch in diameter
  • spiny seedpods change color from green to brown as they mature


  • commonly grows in planting beds

Life Cycle

  • summer annual that germinates late spring to early summer and produces flowers within 3 to 4 weeks followed by seedpods 2 weeks after flowers
  • flowers only open in the morning
  • puncturevine continues to produce flowers and seeds until fall frost; seeds remain dormant at least 1 year

IPM Recommendations

  • Hand-pull plants in planting beds prior to seed maturation; rake or sweep up any dropped burrs (seedpods).
  • Puncturevine thrives in compacted soil; avoid or reduce soil compaction by aeration or preventative methods.
  • Apply a mulch layer 3 inches deep on planting beds to reduce seed germination.
  • Apply an appropriate pre-emergent herbicide prior to seed germination or apply an appropriate post-emergent herbicide directly to target seedlings in planting beds.