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Alhagi Maurorum - Fabaceae Family - Perennial

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  • Flowers: The small, pea-like flowers extend from the spines located along the rigid branches. These flowers are brown to maroon in color.
  • Seeds:  Seed pods are constricted between the individual seeds and are tipped with a small beak.
  • Leaves: The leaves are alternate, ovate to lanceolate from 0.25-1.25 in. (0.6-3.2 cm) long with smooth margins.
  • Flowering Time: Camelthorn starts growth in early to mid-spring with flowers blooming from June to August.
  • Life cycle: Camelthorn is a perennial shrub that spreads primarily through its extensive rhizomatous root system. This root system often travels in excess of 25 lateral feet from the parent plant.


  • Camelthorn readily outcompetes many other plants for nutrients and water due to its extensive root system.
  • Camelthorn spines can puncture vehicle tires along roadways and cause injury to humans and some other animals.
  • Oil from Camelthorn leaves can be used as a treatment for rheumatism. The flowers can also be used to treat Piles (hemorrhoids).


Most effective control methods

  • Mechanical control methods (pulling, cultivation, etc.) are largely ineffective due to Camelthorn’s extensive root system.
  • Camelthorn can be somewhat controlled through grazing by animals such as sheep and camels.
  • There are currently no traditional biocontrol agents approved for use on Camelthorn in the US.
  • Camelthorn can be effectively controlled via chemical means, but only with continued treatment for a minimum of 3 years.

Large Images


Max Licher, SEINet Portal Network

Camelthorn: flowers


John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Camelthorn: full plant


John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Camelthorn: foliage and flowers


Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

Camelthorn: Stems, foliage, and thorns


John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Camelthorn: fruit


Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

Camelthorn: thorns


Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

Camelthorn: full plant including root system


Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,

Camelthorn: seeds



  • Camelthorn Fact Sheet

  • References

    DiTomaso, J.M., G.B. Kyser et al. (2013). Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States [PDF file]. Weed Research and Information Center, University of California. Retrieved from View PDF

    Hoshovsky, M., & O’Connell, R. IPCW plant report: Alhagi pseudalhagi. Retrieved from

    Invasive Species Compendium. (2018, March 27). Alhagi maurorum (camelthorn). Retrieved from

    United States Department of Agriculture. (2014, September). Field guide for managing camelthorn in the Southwest [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF

    University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. (2005, January). A homeowner’s guide to camelthorn [PDF file]. Retrieved from View PDF