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Tribulus cistoides in flower
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Zygophyllales
Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Tribulus

Tribulus is a genus of plants in the family Zygophyllaceae and found in diverse climates and soils worldwide from latitudes 35°S to 47°N.[3][4] The best-known member is T. terrestris (puncture vine), a widespread invasive species and weed.[4]

Tribulus species are perennial, but some grow as annuals in colder climates.[4] The leaves are opposite and compound. The flowers are perfect (hermaphroditic) and insect-pollinated, with fivefold symmetry. The ovary is divided into locules that are in turn divided by "false septa" (the latter distinguish Tribulus from other members of its family).

Some species are cultivated as ornamental plants in warm regions. Some, notably T. cistoides, T. longipetalus, T. terrestris, and T. zeyheri, are considered weeds. Tribulus omanense is the national flower of Dubai.[5] Thirteen species of Tribulus are accepted by The Plant List, but there are many names still unresolved and needing further study.[4]

List of accepted species[edit]

Tribulus zeyheri growing in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia
Tribulus platypterus

(According to Plants of the world online[3])

  1. Tribulus adelacanthus R.M.Barker
  2. Tribulus arabicus Hosni
  3. Tribulus astrocarpus F.Muell.
  4. Tribulus bimucronatus Viv.
  5. Tribulus cistoides L.
  6. Tribulus cristatus C.Presl
  7. Tribulus echinops Kers
  8. Tribulus eichlerianus K.L.Wilson
  9. Tribulus excrucians Wawra
  10. Tribulus forrestii F.Muell.
  11. Tribulus hirsutus Benth.
  12. Tribulus hystrix R.Br.
  13. Tribulus incanus Hosni
  14. Tribulus kaiseri Hosni
  15. Tribulus macrocarpus F.Muell. ex Benth.
  16. Tribulus macropterus Boiss.
  17. Tribulus megistopterus Kralik
  18. Tribulus micrococcus Domin
  19. Tribulus minutus Leichh. ex Benth.
  20. Tribulus mollis Ehrenb. ex Schweinf.
  21. Tribulus occidentalis R.Br.
  22. Tribulus omanense Hosni
  23. Tribulus parvispinus C.Presl
  24. Tribulus pentandrus Forssk.
  25. Tribulus platypterus Benth.
  26. Tribulus ranunculiflorus F.Muell.
  27. Tribulus securidocarpus Engl.
  28. Tribulus spurius Kralik
  29. Tribulus suberosus H.Eichler ex R.M.Barker
  30. Tribulus subramanyamii P.Singh, G.S.Giri & V.Singh
  31. Tribulus terrestris L.
  32. Tribulus zeyheri Sond.


T. terrestris has been cultivated to inhibit soil erosion and to improve soil moisture, texture, and water-holding capability in deserts and barren lands.[4] Although T. terrestris extracts have been used in traditional medicine and as a dietary supplement for bodybuilders, there is no high-quality clinical evidence that it is effective or safe for these purposes.[4][6]


  1. ^ "Tribulus". Australian Plant Name Index, IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1753). "Species Plantarum". 1: 386. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Tribulus L." Plants of the world online: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Tribulus terrestris (puncture vine)". CABI. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Types of Flowers in Dubai". Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Pokrywka, Andrzej; Obmiński, Zbigniew; Malczewska-Lenczowska, Jadwiga; Fijatek, Zbigniew; Turek-Lepa, Ewa; Grucza, Ryszard (2014-07-08). "Insights into supplements with Tribulus terrestris used by athletes". Journal of Human Kinetics. 41 (1): 99–105. doi:10.2478/hukin-2014-0037. ISSN 1899-7562. PMC 4120469. PMID 25114736.

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