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Camel-thorn Alhagi maurorum


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© Richard Old/

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Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description Introduced. A much-branched, thorny shrub with grayish-green stems and leaves; considered an invasive weed in the West.
Height: 18-48" (45-120 cm).
Leaves: small; alternate; lance-shaped.
Flowers: 1/4-1/2" (6-12 mm); pink to purplish; on small stems arising from leaf axils.
Fruit: beaked pod.

Habitat Disturbed habitats, roadsides, rivercourses.

Range Native of Asia; spreading in western United States from Texas to California and north to Washington and Idaho.

Discussion Camel-thorn was introduced to the United States by two avenues: as a contaminant in agricultural seed and as a component of packing materials. It has deep roots and spreads by creeping rhizomes, and in the West it has spread along rivercourses and into fields and pastures. It is classified as a noxious weed in a number of western states.