Tribulus terrestris (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Tribulus terrestris L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 387 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • (Small) caltrop, puncture vine, burnut (En). Herbe terrestre, saligot terrestre, croix de chevalier (Fr)
  • Thailand: khokkrasun (central), naam krasung, naam din (northern)
  • Vietnam: tật lê, bạch tật lê, gai ma vương.


Native of the Mediterranean region, now widespread throughout the world from 35S to 47N, often as a noxious weed. It is not recorded as a weed in Central or South America, South-East Asia or western Africa.


In Vietnam, the dried fruits are widely used as haemostatic, diuretic and galactagogue, and are considered beneficial for the kidneys and for regulating menses. They are prescribed as a decoction for backache, headache, red eyes, nosebleeds and spermatorrhoea. In Thailand, the aerial parts are used as a diuretic.


An annual to biennial, much branched, mat-forming, pubescent herb, stems radiating from a central axis, up to 2.4 m long; longer leaves up to 6 cm long, with 6-8(-11) pairs of leaflets, smaller leaves up to 3.5 cm long, with 3-4 pairs of leaflets, leaflets oblong-lanceolate, up to 15 mm × 5 mm, base obliquely rounded, upper surface green, sparsely pubescent, lower surface whitish pubescent, stipules linear, up to 10 mm long; pedicel 2-4 cm long, sepals 3-5 mm long, petals 3-12 mm long, pale yellow, stamens about as long as the petals; cocci 4-5, spines stout, sharp, 2 lateral ones largest, 2 shorter ones near the base, directed downward, seeds 1-4 in each coccus. T. terrestris occurs in dry, sandy locations, at low altitudes.

Selected sources

  • Adimoelja, A., 2000. Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunctions. International Journal of Andrology 23, suppl. 2: 82-84.

61, 124,

  • Chuakul, W., Saralamp, P., Paonil, W., Temsiririrkkul, R. & Clayton, T. (Editors), 1997. Medicinal plants in Thailand. Vol. II. Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. 248 pp.
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.

279, 285, 343, 493, 621, 633, 673, 707, 786, 863, 884, 903, 929, 960, 1114.


Wongsatit Chuakul, Noppamas Soonthornchareonnon & Orawan Ruangsomboon