pronounced: zy-go-fill-AY-see-eye

the caltrops family

Zygophyllum, the type genus, is derived from the Greek ζυγος (zygos), yoked, and φυλλον (phyllon), a leaf. Most of the Zygophyllaceae have fruits reminiscent of caltrops, ancient weapons designed to slow down the advance of war horses, elephants, camels and human troops, and, in modern times, cars with pneumatic tyres. They consist of sharp spines arranged so that, however the device falls on the ground, one of its spikes is always upright. According to Quintus Curtius, caltrops, called tribuli by the Romans, were in use as early as 331 BC at Gaugamela.