Photos on the journey #498 – So why you think we call em goat heads ???

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This one is stuck in my finger!

Goat heads, they are a mainstay here in West Texas. As a youngster growing up in Odessa Tx, yes we went barefoot most summers. It would take you about a month to get your feet callused enough to keep them from too deep or painful a puncture. Even then, there were friends who had good yards and those that were not so good.

My two dogs both dislike them. Clovis, an Australian Shepard, pretty much will extract them with a quick bite and spit method. My other dog, Grace, has very sensitive feet and she will go on three (and sometimes even two) legs until I stop and pull it out.

Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant in the family Zygophyllaceae, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World in southern Europe, southern Asia, throughout Africa, and Australia. It can thrive even in desert climates and poor soil. Like many weedy species, this plant has many common names, including bindiibullheadburra gokharucaltropcat’s headdevil’s eyelashesdevil’s thorndevil’s weed,goatheadpuncturevine, and tackweed.

My granddaughter calls them “sticker bugs”. Another good name for these little buggers!

Tribulus terrestris is a taprooted herbaceous perennial plant that grows as a summer annual in colder climates. The stems radiate from the crown to a diameter of about 10 cm to over 1 m, often branching. They are usually prostrate, forming flat patches, though they may grow more upwards in shade or among taller plants. The leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets less than 6 mm (a quarter-inch) long. The flowers are 4–10 mm wide, with five lemon-yellow petals. A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily falls apart into four or five single-seeded nutlets. The nutlets or “seeds” are hard and bear two to three sharp spines, 10 mm long and 4–6 mm broad point-to-point. These nutlets strikingly resemble goats’ or bulls’ heads; the “horns” are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires and lawn mower tires and to cause painful injury to bare feet.

The Greek word, τρίβολος meaning ‘water-chestnut’, translated into Latin as tribulos. The Latin name tribulus originally meant the caltrop (a spiky weapon), but in Classical times already the word meant this plant as well. It has been reported that the seeds or nutlets have been used in homicidal weapons smeared with the juice of Acokanthera venenata in southern Africa. OUCH!

Watch where you step. ††† en theos ††† jlawrence

3 thoughts on “Photos on the journey #498 – So why you think we call em goat heads ???

  1. Perfect portrait of a goathead. Been looking at online images, and none of ’em hold a candle to this. Gorgeous work as usual, Jim.

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