Yellow vine

Tribulus terrestris

Yellow vine (Clemson, p.230) is a summer-growing ground flora, of the North West NSW. It is a major pollen and honey flora, when good summer rain occurs. Local reports indicate that yellow vine can be very variable on its effect on bees. Some years it is very good, and bee hives will breed and swarm when foraging on this floral source, but in other years, the bees respond only marginally. This appears to be associated with ground moisture. The better the moisture levels, the better the quality of yellow vine pollen.

A two-sample test on this floral source indicated crude protein levels of 21% and 14%. The first sample showed a complete essential amino-acid profile required by honey bees. The essential amino-acid iso-leucine was very high, at 4.4%. This had not been observed in many previously tested pollens. In the second sample the essential amino-acid iso-leucine was below the desired level and the crude protein was only 14%. (Table 40)

The 21% crude protein, the good iso-leucine level and the good nectar flow associated with yellow vine is the reason this floral source is on occasions beneficial to bees. The second test would indicate why on other occasions this floral source can be only of slight benefit to bees.

The pollen from yellow vine would be suitable for collecting and feeding back to bees at a later time, during good response years.

Yellow vine often flowers after coolibah (Eucalyptus microtheca) honey flow, allowing the bees to recover from the heavy work-load of the coolibah.

Table 40: Yellow Vine Tribulus terrestris

Minimum % of Amino-Acid from De Groot (1953)

January 1992


February 1994

Threonine 3.0 4.3 3.1 
Valine 4.0 4.7 4.0 
Methionine 1.5 1.5 2.0 
Leucine 4.5 6.4 5.3 
Iso-leucine 4.0 4.4 3.6*
Phenylalanine 2.5 4.1 3.0 
Lysine 3.0 7.7 4.9 
Histidine 1.5 2.5 2.7 
Arginine 3.0 5.4 4.2 
Tryptophan 1.0 - -
Crude protein   21% 13.9%

* Low level of this amino-acid

Click here to return to the Pollen Index

Click here to return to the Honeybee Ausrtalis front page