Puncture vine (Tribulus omanense)

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Puncture vine fact file

Puncture vine description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderSapindales
FamilyZygophyllaceae
GenusTribulus (1)

A branching desert shrub that is superbly adapted to arid environments, Tribulus omanense has a stout base and very long tap roots, anchoring the plant in unstable, sandy conditions and increasing its ability to obtain water. The small, often overlapping leaves are oblong- or elliptical-shaped, growing in opposite pairs along the stems. Tribulus omanense produces bright yellow flowers on pedicels at the axils of smaller leaves, each composed of five distinct and widely spreading petals, with several nectar secreting glands fused to form a cup-like structure inside the flower (2).   

There is much confusion surrounding the accepted taxonomy of Tribulus omanense, with some scientists considering this species to be a variant of Tribulus arabicus or Tribulus macropterus (var. arabicus) (2) (3).

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Puncture vine biology

Very little information is available on the biology of Tribulus omanense; however, it has been observed to flower and fruit between April and September (4), with the hardened fruit splitting into five segments when it becomes mature (2). It is a perennial species, often recorded in close association with the sedge species Cyperus conglomeratus (2) (3) (4).

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Puncture vine range

Tribulus omanense is found in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen (2) (3).

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Puncture vine habitat

Tribulus omanense inhabits arid and semi-arid areas, often on deep, undulating sand, open dunes and on gravel flats (3) (4).

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Puncture vine status

Tribulus omanense has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

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Puncture vine threats

There are no known threats to Tribulus omanense.

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Puncture vine conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for Tribulus omanense.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
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Find out more

To find out more about conservation in the United Arab Emirates, see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Axils
The angle between the upper side of a leaf or stem and the supporting stem or branch.
Pedicels
In plants, pedicels are small stalks bearing a single flower within an inflorescence (the flower-bearing reproductive shoot of the plant).
Perennial
A plant that normally lives for more than two seasons. After an initial period, the plant produces flowers once a year.
Taxonomy
The science of classifying organisms, grouping together animals which share common features and are thought to have a common ancestor.
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References

  1. GBIF (December, 2010)
    http://www.gbif.org/
  2. Al-Hemaid, F. and Thomas, J. (1996) Review of the genus Tribulus L. in Saudi Arabia. Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research, 14(2): 415-443.
  3. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
  4. Western, R.A. (1991) Distribution of Tribulus species in the UAE. Tribulus, 1(1): 1-3.
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Image credit

Puncture vine in bloom  
Puncture vine in bloom

© Drew Gardner

Dr Drew Gardner
asgardner@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewgardner/

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This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

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