Botanical Name – Tribulus terrestris
Chinese Name – BAI JI LI
English Name – Puncture Vine Fruit
Tribulus terrestris is an annual plant in the caltrop family (Zygophyllaceae) widely distributed around the world, that is adapted to grow in dry climate locations in which few other plants can survive.
It is an invasive species in North America. Like many weedy species, this plant has many common names, including goat’s-head, bullhead, caltrop, small caltrops, cat’s-head, devil’s eyelashes, devil’s-thorn, devil’s-weed, puncture vine, puncturevine, and tackweed.
It is 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.
The fruits are used in herbal medicine. They are collected when they are mature and dried for later use.
Tribulus terrestris was used as a weapon by South African tribes. The thorny seeds were collected, dipped in poison and then placed on the ground waiting for rival tribes to step on.