Author Topic: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)  (Read 6371 times)

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Offline Andrew

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Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« on: February 12, 2010, 03:23:33 PM »
I experienced this nasty sucker living over in Wagga, where the burs (shaped like cat heads - hence the name) could puncture bicycle tyres without a thought, go through shoes, and had even brought the occasional car tyre to a flat end.  The name "Caltop" means "spiked weapon" just to further the nastiness of this one.

A couple turned up in the yard Pepper stayed in for her first 18hrs, but that was expected as the paddocks she came from were littered with this weed.  What I didn't expect was to find them in paddocks I've had closed off since before Pepper arrived, in nearby paddocks, and even in my back yard (a fenced section I haven't been in since pepper arrived). That's further than pep can be held responsible for!

but as a heads up - if you can grab this weed before it sets seed, DO IT or it will be horrible to control. Don't spray it, rip the thing up tap-root and all.  Oh and wear gloves, even the juvenile developing seeds can puncture skin.

anyway, on to the weed:

Caltrop Tribulus terrestris
Alternative Name(s): Cat-head, Bindii.



Family: Zygophyllaceae
Form: Herb

Origin: Native at least of the Mediterranean, now cosmopolitan. One Australian species is probably included under this name.

Flowers/Seedhead: Solitary in the leaf axils, 5-petalled. Flowers summer and autumn in southern Australia.

Description: Prostrate annual with stems to 2 m long. Leaves with 4–8 pairs of oblong leaflets, each leaflet to 12 mm long, the upper surface dark green and often with hairy margins, the lower surface paler and hairy. Fruit 11–20 mm wide (including spines), comprising a cluster of 5 segments each with 2 larger divergent spines above and 2 smaller downward projecting spines below. Each segment with 1–5 seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by petals 2–10 mm long; style shorter than to slightly longer than length of stigma and fruit with 2 larger and 2 smaller spines per fruit segment.

Dispersal: Spines of fruit segments ensure rapid dissemination of seeds.

Confused With: Other small-fruited spiny Tribulus species.
   
Notes: A troublesome weed of wasteland, pastoral land, cropping, vineyards and recreation areas. Sharp spines on dry fruit hamper stock handling, are a nuisance in recreation areas and fruit may contaminate drying grapes. Photosensitisation, staggers and nitrate poisoning are also caused by stock grazing Caltrop. Young sheep are especially sensitive. A native insect and mite damage plants and overseas biological control has been used to reduce problems associated with this species.



Offline Stripey

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 08:12:24 AM »
My poor puppy found one of these in our front yard. Nasty prickles, and HUGE!!

Offline Andrew

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 08:18:52 AM »
yup - I found another just up the road from my house. Seems conditions are right for them to pop up, but I haven't seen them in Canberra before now. Maybe they are around?

I'll be walking my paddocks a bit this weekend to check for these and any other weeds popping up.  PC can get sprayed, but this cathead one you need to pull up, root and all. Spraying it will kill it, but it'll realise it's in trouble (if plants can be aware) and finish making a viable seed. So remove it before it can!

Offline pgsporties

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 09:38:33 AM »
i think we have a few at Kerrabee :( there has been small spikey things discovered in a few paddocks.. :( can they be sprayed andrew?? its a bit hard to walk all the way around the geldings paddock at kerrabee lol..

Offline Andrew

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 09:44:17 AM »
yup, can spray - but manual control is best for them unless they're rampant.

Offline pgsporties

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 10:42:48 AM »
so similar to curse???

Offline Andrew

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 10:57:50 AM »
in what way?

Curse has nice big leaves that soak up poison so spray works well, except if you can already see purple then it'll most likely set seed... better to cut and remove purple and spray the remaining weed.

This doesn't have such big leaves and is better for spot-spraying with roundup, except it'll can produce viable (and sharp) seeds - hence pull it out.  But wear gloves, even baby seeds on it are prickly buggers.

Offline Andrew

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 05:14:28 AM »
new paddocks I've just taken on have a section infested with this weed, where they were feeding out hay.  I've sprayed it all and removed plants manually, but each week I find more in there - and in only a week of growth one plant can send out runners 40cm and have several burrs already growing (and sharp).  

A fully-grown plant can be 2m across with over 200 burrs... the largest I've found so far had four stems of about 70cm each, and combined some 37 burrs.  ouch!

Not showing up as toxic for horses, but they do affect sheep and the burrs will cut and puncture the gums of all stock.

NSW factsheet - http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/318563/Tribulus-caltrop-and-yellow-vine.pdf
WA factsheet - http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/objtwr/imported_assets/content/pw/weed/wc/fn042_2003.pdf  
SA factsheet - www.pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/37891/Caltrop.pdf
 

Offline Andrew

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 02:49:35 PM »
Evil suckers these...


How evil?  They can puncture shoes and even tyres!


random image found via google

I've successfully rid my yards of them, but I'm staying vigilant.

Offline Taff Pony

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 07:40:59 PM »
Ooooh I remember these suckers from Bathurst at my ex's house. I had no idea and was wearing thongs on the lawn, and they spiked into my feet on the sides and through my thongs. Ouch!

Never seen any around here though...
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Offline piper

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 04:58:54 PM »
Wagga used to be rife with them, they are nasty- my sister got bucked off our pony and landed on her back in a whole patch, she was doubling a friend and she put her feet in ponys flank which equalled instant ejection, she did warn friend to watch where she put her feet.
I had to remove them for her and we didn't dare tell mum
Nobody told me there would be days like these, but I sure wished they would have

Offline drf

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 06:11:38 AM »
bike riders know them as 3 corner jacks.  For the obvious reason.  There are all the way along between scrivener dam and cotter road on the path along there.  Nothing like 9 punctures between all the kids going along there one afternoon that turned into dark.  They are also rife just on the south side of Commonwealth bridge.

Offline cilla25

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Re: Weeds - Cathead - real name Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 09:56:05 AM »
In victoria we called these "bindie's". I once was riding my bike without any shoes on, through a spare block in a small town. The  block was covered in them and totally flattened my bike tyre, so I hopped off and tried to push my bike and ended up with them in my feet. A friend had to pick me up and carry me home, which was fortunately only 2 houses away. I must have only been 8 or 9 at the time.

They are a MOST evil plant.
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier