Camelthorn (Alhagi pseudalhagi)
Other common names
Perennial, flowers June to July. Grows 1 1/2 to 4 feet tall. Stems are greenish with slender spines 1/4 to 1 3/4 inches long. Leaves are wedge-shaped, hairless on the upper surface, 1/4 to 1 1/4 inches long. Flowers are small, pea-like, and pinkish-purple to maroon; they occur on short, spine-tipped branches along the upper portion of the plant. Reddish-brown, jointed seed pods curve upward, deeply indented, with each seed clearly outlined in the pod.
This plant grows well on dry or moist sites and is reported to spread rapidly along streams and canals. Camelthorn is strongly competitive with other plants. Its rapid and aggressive growth allows it to out-compete both native vegetation and cultivated crops. Because of its rhizomatic growth habit, dense stands may form that are impenetrable because of its spiny stems. It is especially troublesome in cereal and horticultural croplands, where repeated cultivation aids its spread.
Camelthorn is unpalatable to most livestock and is a potential contaminant for alfalfa seed crops.