Puncturevine is a sprawling annual plant that forms a dense mat with very sharp, spiny seed heads. This nasty weed has infiltrated Hood River County from the east, according to Jordan Kim, assistant manager of Hood River Soil and Water District.
Also known as goathead, puncturevine has branched stems that can spread up to six feet wide, stemming from a single crown. Flowers are small, yellow and have five petals. The leaves are hairy, one to three-inches long, and divided into leaflets, each about a quarter-inch long. The seed head is woody with very sharp spines. Seeds are easily spread by sticking into footwear, vehicle tires and animals.
This plant poses serious problems for recreationalists and agriculturalists alike. The seeds can easily puncture a bike tire, inflatable raft or dog’s paw. Puncturevine has been found recently in area orchards where seeds are being spread by tractor tires and other farming activities. Plants are actively producing seeds now and will continue to do so until we get frost.
Puncturevine has been found along the Mosier-Twin Tunnels trail, the Hood River waterfront, Eastside Road, Lost Lake Road and along Tucker Rd. If you see it, report it to the state weed database at http://oregoninva-siveshot-line.org/. If you remove it, try to get the entire taproot, all of the seeds, bag it and put it in the garbage for landfill disposal.