Alhagi maurorum

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Genus: Alhagi
Species: A. maurorum
Scientific Name
Alhagi maurorum
Medik
Scientific Name Synonym
Alhagi camelorum
Medik
Alhagi pseudalhagi
Medik
Common Names

camelthorn, camel thorn

Overview

Appearance
Alhagi maurorum is a perennial shrub that grows 2-3 ft. (0.6-0.9 m) tall. Sharp yellow spines that are actually modified stems are from 1-2 in. (2.5-5 cm) in length.
Foliage
The leaves are alternate, ovate to lanceolate from 0.25-1.25 in. (0.6-3.2 cm) long with smooth margins.
Flowers
The small, pea-like flowers extend from the spines located along the rigid branches. They are produced in June to August. These flowers are brown to maroon in color.
Fruit
Seed pods are constricted between the individual seeds and are tipped with a small beak.
Ecological Threat
Alhagi maurorum is found in arid, agricultural areas and riverbanks of the western U.S. where it has access to water during the growing season. The plant rapidly colonizes an area by producing new plants from its creeping roots. It is native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia and was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s as a contaminant in alfalfa seed.

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