Plant Assessment Form

Tribulus terrestris

Synonyms: Tribulus bimucronatus; Tribulus lanuginosus; Tribulus saharae; Tribulus terrestris var. sericeus

Common Names: puncture vine; puncturevine, goat's head

Evaluated on: 29-Dec-16

List committee review date: 25/01/2017

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Mona Robison/Science Program Manager
Cal-IPC
916-802-2004
rrobison@cal-ipc.org

List commitee members

Jutta Burger
Naomi Fraga
Denise Knapp
Chris McDonald
Ron Vanderhoff
John Knapp
Elizabeth Brusati

General Comments

When impacts were reduced to minor based on lack of evidence of wildland impacts, the overall score is now Limited.

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Limited
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 4 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Impact?
Four-part score CCCD Total Score
C
1.2 ?Impact on plant community C. Minor Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels C. Minor Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
Invasiveness?
Total Points
16 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management B. Increases less rapidly Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal A. Frequent Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Reviewed Scientific Publication
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
A. Widespread Observational
Distribution?
Total Score B
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Reviewed Scientific Publication

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

Forms dense, up to 30 cm deep, populations in some areas which restrict light availability for other plants. These conditions were observed in California prior to the introduction of the biocontrol (Kelch, pers. comm.). T. terrestris can form deep roots (up to 2 m or more) and extract a large volume of water (14.1 kg of water per plant in excess of the rainfall received) so it has the ability to alter soil water availability or to decrease the water table. T. terrestris has nodules containing bacteria (Bradyrhizobium) and cyanobacteria (Newmania karachiensis) on the roots so populations of the plant could alter soil nutrient dynamics. The question is answered as Moderate since the species is an annual and it is partially controlled by biocontrol weevils, making abiotic impacts relatively short-lived. In California locations are not 30 cm deep, much closer to prostrate (McDonald, pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
CABI abstract 2015
McDonald, C. Personal communication.
Kelch, D. Personal communication.


Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Forms dense, up to 30 cm deep, populations in some areas which can restrict other plants. These conditions were observed in agricultural areas in California prior to the introduction of biocontrol insects (Kelch, pers. comm.). T. terrestris can have an allelopathic effect on some plants. In spite of its generally prostrate habit, T. terrestris is a serious competitor with crops, particularly in dry conditions where its ability to extract moisture from great depths is an advantage. In an abandoned field in the sandy desert of Kuwait annual plants were found to be less numerous in stands dominated by Tribulus terrestris than in adjacent stands dominated by other species. This study also found that leaching from T. terrestris shoots of water-soluble substances which strongly inhibited the germination and radicle elongation of most of the associated annual species. Impacts in California are less than severe, confined to roadsides and disturbed areas (Vanderhoff, R. and McDonald, C. pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
El-Ghareeb 1991
Kelch, D. Personal communication.
Vanderhoff, R. Personal communication
McDonald, C. Personal communication.


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Spines on the fruit damage the feet of animals, particularly horses, sheep, cattle and dogs (DiTomaso and Healy 2007). T. terrestris is toxic to sheep and other livestock and poisonings occur periodically in Australia and Africa. This question is scored as Moderate since the main impact is through the injurous spines and toxicity to grazers.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
CABI abstract 2015


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Reviewed Scientific Publication

There are no native members of the Tribulus genus in California so there is no chance of hybridization.


Sources of information:

Jepson eFlora (Porter 2016)


Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe role of disturbance:

T. terrestris burs disperse by adhering to tires, shoes and clothing of people, and the fur, feathers, or feet of animals. It occurs most commonly in disturbed areas such as roadsides, orchards, crops and waste areas.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
CABI abstract 2015


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe rate of spread:

When T. terrestris was introduced in 1902 it became a widespread weed harmful to agriculture and transportation. Since the introduction of weevils for biocontrol in 1961, populations have decreased and spread rates are much slower. T. terrestris appeared to be spreading locally during drought conditions in Whiskeytown NRA and in Livermore area (Gibson 2015). Since it is a poor
competitor and not a prolific seed producer, compared to other noxious weeds, and biocontrol insects are slowing the spread, this question is answered as increasing less rapidly.

Populations at John Muir NHS in Martinez have been stable without management for five years (Wrubel, pers. comm.).

Local observations of high rate of spread (resulting in sparsely distributed populations) along roadsides and especially bicycle trails. Puncturevine in Orange County is spreading rapidly in agricultural areas, along trails and at staging areas but has not extended into natural areas or even nearby restoration sites (Burger, pers. comm.)


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015
Gibson 2015
Burger, J. Personal communication.
Wrubel, E. Personal communication.


Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe trend:

When T. terrestris was introduced in 1902 it became a widespread weed harmful to agriculture and transportation. After the introduction of weevils for biocontrol in 1961, populations decreased and spread rates became much slower. A resurgence of the weed occurred again in central California in the mid-1990s, prompting the rearing and reintroduction of the seed weevil in some northern counties were the biocontrol insects were killed by winter temperatures (Pitcairn pers. comm.). Today the population of puncturevine is less and insects are generally keeping puncturevine populations in check. Therefore this question is answered as increasing less rapidly than it would in the absence of biocontrol.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015
Pitcairn, M. Personal communication.


Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

T. terrestris is an annual plant which forms seeds in burs. It can grow stems up to 1 meter long and dense populations can be up to 30 cm deep. It flowers from March to October and burs can be formed 6 weeks after germination. Newly formed seeds are dormant and require an after-ripening period of 6 months to one year before they can germinate. Up to 1,000 fruit can be produced per plant, and each fruit can have up to 20 seeds (Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
Goeden and Ricker 1973


Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

T. terrestris forms burs with spikes on them which readily adhere to animals, humans and vehicles and are widely dispersed as a result. It is commonly found along roadsides and in parking areas, and can be a contaminant of wool and other agricultural products. T. terrestris is very much a widespread recreation concern on trails and roadsides for cyclists (Lake Oroville SRA, State Parks along Sacramento River, Shasta SHP) (Dempesy, pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
DiTomaso and Kyser et al. 2013
CABI abstract 2015
Dempsey, J. Personal communication.


Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? A Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

T. terrestris can be found on the banks of streams and canals and is probably distributed by water, in addition to its dispersal by animals. It is also dispersed along roadsides by tires (Burger, pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015
Burger, J. Personal communication.


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify other regions:

T. terrestris is native to the Mediterranean region through Asia, Africa and subtropical Australia. It is invasive in North America from California (Oregon and Washington) to Texas, Hawaii, and in South Africa, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, South America, Russia, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon. It is found throughout California so the question is answered as Already Invaded.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? A Observational

T. terrestris was introduced into California in 1902 and was highly invasive here until the introduction of weevils for biological control in 1961. The species again began expanding in the 1990s, when weevils were re-introduced. Currently it is documented as occurring throughout the state along roadsides and in disturbed areas, with gaps in forested areas along the north coast, the high Sierra and isolated deserts. Puncturevine in Orange County has been found and is spreading rapidly in agricultural area, along trails and at staging areas but has not extended into natural areas or even nearby restoration sites (Burger, pers. comm.). In coastal San Luis Obispo, T. terrestris "was around a couple summers ago when we had really warm, fog free summers, but not since. Maybe if temps continue to rise it will be a problem (Sayers, pers. comm.)."


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015.
Calflora 2016
CCH 2016
Burger, J. Personal communication.
Sayers, J. Personal communication.


Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe distribution:

Currently T. terrestris is documented as occurring throughout the state along roadsides and in disturbed areas, with gaps in forested areas along the north coast, the high Sierra and isolated deserts. It occurs in vineyards, orchards, crop fields, roadsides, railways, walkways, and other disturbed areas. Often found in areas with high soil compaction. It is prevalent in areas with hot summers and grows best on dry, sandy soil, but tolerates most soil types. It is very much a widespread recreation concern on trails and roadsides for cyclists (Lake Oroville SRA, State Parks along Sacramento River, Shasta SHP) (Dempsey pers. comm.).


Sources of information:

DiTomaso and Healy 2007
Parsons and Cuthbertson 2001
CABI abstract 2015
Calflora 2016
CCH 2016
UC IPM Weed Gallery 2016
Dempsey, J. Personal communication.


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Yes
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Yes
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Yes
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years Yes
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Unknown
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes No
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere No
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned No
Total points: 7
Total unknowns: 1
Total score: A?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
estuaries
Dunescoastal
desert
interiorD, < 5%
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrubD, < 5%
coastal scrubD, < 5%
Sonoran desert scrubD, < 5%
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)D, < 5%
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparralD, < 5%
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieD, < 5%
valley and foothill grasslandD, < 5%
Great Basin grasslandD, < 5%
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodland
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodlandD, < 5%
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forestD, < 5%
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): A
Distribution (highest score): D

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions

  • CA Floristic Province
  • Cascade Range
  • Central West
  • Great Valley
  • Northwest
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Southwest
  • Great Basin Province
  • Modoc Plateau
  • Sierra Nevada East
  • Desert Province
  • Mojave Desert
  • Sonoran Desert