Plants of
South Australia
Tribulus hystrix
Zygophyllaceae
Sandhill Spiky Caltrop
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Tribulus from the Greek 'tribolos' meaning water-chestnut and translated into Latin as 'tribulos' which originally meant the caltrop, a 4-pointed military instrument, employed to lame advancing cavalry, and the name also applied to Tribulus terrestris. Hystrix from Greek meaning hedgehog; alluding to its spiny fruit.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-east part of South Australia, growing on sand dunes. Also found Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Western Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Prostrate or ascending perennial herb covered with woolly or curly hairs. Leaves opposite, the larger with 8-10 pairs of ovate leaflets. Inflorescence solitary axils of leaves with large bright yellow flowers. Flowering between March and November. Fruits are hairy woody ball covered in unequal spines o 12 mm long. Seeds are contained within the woody fruit. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect fruits that are hard and turning brown. Some fruits maybe split and laying on the ground. Be careful when collecting as the fruits are spiny. No further cleaning is required if only fruits are collected. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. Seed viability is usually high. This species have physical and physiological dormancies that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate.