Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop) Family
Plant is a trailing perennial. Its preferred habitat is dry waste places, open ground and edge of pine woods and fields. Distribution is coastal in the Escambia region.
Leaves are 2- to 3 inches long and the shaped is typical of legumes. Segments are arranged along the side of a long stalk with each pair being larger than the other. Individual leaves are oblong in form and paired like a feather along the leaf stem; smooth; compound with larger leaf usually on the right; no teeth and no lobes.
Flowers are about one inch wide; 5 sepals and 5 petals; 10 stamens. Flowers occur in the summer.
Fruit is a capsule that splits into five segments, each ending in a sharp spine.
Introduced from Europe, this plant is a troublesome weed, especially where livestock is pastured. The spines on the fruits are very sharp and might injure animals if fed as fodder. In addition, there appears to be a toxic substance in the plant which causes animals to become sensitive to sunlight and develop swellings and dermatitis on unpigmented portions of the body, especially around the eyes and mouth.