Species Name
Tribulus terrestris1


Local Name(s)
Qumputia (Wolayetgna), Akakima (Amargna), Kurumshit (Oromugna-Arsi), puncture vine (English)

General description
T. terestris is a tap-rooted annual herb with hairy, prostrate, branches up to 90cm long spreading from central axis. Leaves are pinnately compound in opposite pairs with a linear stipule. The lanceolate leaflets are in 4-8 pairs along a hairy rachis. The 5-petaled, yellow flowers, highly variable in size (from 0.5-2.0cm diameter), are solitary in the axis of breaking into 5 triangular-shaped, spiny (2 at the tip and smaller ones down the sides) sections when ripe. These are painful to human and animal feet.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The leaves are edible. The plant grows abundantly after the first rains and all along the rainy season. Animals also eat the plant. But farmers observed that when animals consume too much, their stomachs might blow. The leaves taste ok for human consumption. But nevertheless they are only consumed during hardship periods when other foodstuff gets scarce. Therefore, the plant is considered a typical famine food.

The plant is found in the Central and Northern Highlands, Northeast, Southern Rift Valley, Western Lowlands and Chercher Highlands between 750 - 1,600m.

Propagation Method(s) 
propagates by ... 

Sample location (s)
Humbo Woreda (North Omo)

Traditional insults go with the name of this plant; 'ary kuenti' and 'kuenti lacani', translated as 'kuenti eaters', which means being as poor as having to eat 'kuenti' instead of any other farmed crop such as barley or teff.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Stroud A, Parker C, 1989: p. 228/229

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Qumputia.jpg (180031 bytes)
'Qumputia' species in a farm field during the dry season in Humbo Woreda, North Omo (left).

Qumputia 2.jpg (125986 bytes)
Flowering T. terrestris (Photograph from Stroud A, Parker C, 1989: p. 229; right).