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The puncturevine is sprouting

May 6, 2015

Photo taken in the alley behind my house May 4, 2015


If you don’t know about puncturevine, see this post I wrote back in 2010, when I was just getting to know the area.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Arlene Wise permalink
    May 8, 2015 3:45 pm

    I remember puncture vine from my dear Grandma/Grandpa’s farm in western Kansas–and as children, we were always barefoot

  2. May 10, 2015 5:40 am

    I was so happy to read this post and your earlier one you linked to! I lived in a tiny town in Nebraska (Curtis) in the late 60s. I was in grade school — the classic time and place for barefoot kids on bikes. I had LOTS of experience with flat tires and foot pain. These nasty thing are hard as stones and with very very sharp points. When they puncture your feet (sometimes right through your sandals) they leave a bruise and a hole and a swelling that is painful for a long time — more like stepping on a nail.

    The local gas station had a tub of water and a patch kit always at the ready. Visiting there to get my tire fixed was something I had to do all the time. “Smitty” patched all the kids’ tires for free.

    But we called these things sand burrs. I had never heard the term puncturevine. So now I’m curious — was that a local term used in my town or county? or did someone tell me the wrong name?

    I totally recognize the photo you posted above of the vine itself. You eye learns to spot that on the ground and not step on it.

    Now I live in New England and there is a weed that grows in my garden that looks a lot like this one. It isn’t puncturevine (not sure what it is….) but I always think of those burrs when I pull it out.

    I love your posts, Katie. The midwest is so beautiful and it’s so nice to revisit the flora, fauna and weather through your eyes.

    • May 10, 2015 7:23 am

      I love your story about “Smitty.” And I’m glad to have completely avoided these evil things in my childhood, whatever they are called. Here, I’ve heard them referred to as both puncturevine and goatheads. I think of something else when I think of sand burrs. Wikipedia additionally lists several more names: bindii, bullhead, burra gokharu, caltrop, cat’s head, devil’s eyelashes, devil’s thorn, devil’s weed, tackweed. But, I guess that’s the reason for a standardized scientific name – Tribulus terrestris. They did not seem to exist in Illinois where I grew up, nor in Minnesota where I spent time with grandparents. I think those places got too much rain and the weed got crowded out by other, more vigorously-growing things. Glad you are enjoying my posts. What’s a writer without readers?

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