Caltrops and Catheads.

If you are looking for a cute post about kitty’s, STOP NOW!

This Post is not about anything cute or cuddly, it focuses on the scourge of many a barefoot person, a horrible, sharp, spiky, insidious little thing called “a cathead”.

The Fruit of the Caltrope or Cats Head

Living in the (usually ) dry and dusty Riverina has many blessings, however these little buggers aren’t one of them.

We have had many days of glorious, much needed rain this week. Which means these little bastards have come out in full force! I have been consistently clearing these out of my yard whenever I see them. But this rain has bought them back!!!

The Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris), is an invasive, introduced weed in my parts, and the seeds that it spreads like candy are known as cat heads, they stick to your bike tyres, car tyres, and shoes, then get transported where ever you may go; including inside your own home if you aren’t militant with the no shoes rule. These horrible little spikes then like to hide in wait till you are barefoot and ripe for their attack! They sink deep into your foot and then break off little bits of their sharp spikes and leave a little piece of themselves inside you to ache and throb until you have to dig them out.

The Department of Primary Industy tells us

“The Caltrop is thought to have been

accidentally introduced before 1896 as a contaminant

of seed from the Mediterranean area, South Africa or

California. The introduction of rubber-tyred vehicles

in the late 1920s and early 1930s caused the rapid

spread of this weed.

Caltrop occurs in all Australian states except

Tasmania. In NSW it is most commonly found in the

central west slopes and north-west slopes”

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/318563/Tribulus-caltrop-and-yellow-vine.pdf

I am giving you a public service announcement, if you live anywhere where Caltrops and Cat Heads grow, get out and pull them up now!

Do it Whilst the ground is still soft and damp, they’re are easier to dig up and remove. All you need is a little hand trowel and a black plastic bag. Once the plant has been removed, put it in the black plastic bag. Once you have finished digging them all up, tie up the bag so it is sealed tight. The heat from the sealed bag will ensure all the plants die and can’t escape to invade someone else’s yard or drop their seeds to pierce someone else’s soft skin. If you can get to them before they have started to flower their little Yellow flowers, they wont be spiky or drop their horrible little seeds when you remove them.

The Yellow Flower of the Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)

In just half an hour I was able to dig up this big pile of Caltrop and remove it. Saving my yard from being littered with thousands of sharp, spiky seeds…

A big bucket of “Hell No!!”

Prevention is much better than swearing when you step on a Cats Head. Do yourself a favour, get them out now and keep pulling them out whenever you see them

So consider yourself warned, if you live in or visit an area where these grow, wear shoes or face the pain!!!

Have you ever come across one of these little devils? Drop me a comment and let me know how you feel about Cats Heads…

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