Caltrop, Yellow Vine or Cat-head

Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Tribulus
Species: unknown
Main Flower Colour: Yellow


A weed. Tribulus species are summer growing annuals that occur throughout mainland Australia and have high drought tolerance.

The plant is a spreading vine. Leaves are opposite and made up of several pairs of leaflets. Flowers have five petals that are longer than the sepals. Fruits have many spines to assist spread of seeds.
Many species of Tribulus are introduced although some do appear to be native to Australia.


The main flower colour is yellow.


Caltrop is an opportunistic weed of cultivation, waste land and degraded pastures.

Under certain conditions, grazing of Tribulus has been associated with nitrate poisoning, photosensitisation and sheep staggers. Spines on caltrop fruit damage the feet of livestock, causing lameness, and caltrop fruit can become embedded in sheep fleece, lowering its value and causing discomfort to shearers.

Caltrop is also a weed of urban areas and is a nuisance on footpaths and playing fields. It is not a declared noxious weed in NSW.

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Bio Regions

Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields (SSD)

Region Specifics

northern Simpson Desert

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