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Alhagi maurourum (Camelthorn)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Semi-desert. Openings, shrublands. Spring, summer.
Alhagi maurourum is native to Eurasia, but has been introduced on several continents. In the U.S. it is known only in the western states. In the area covered by this website it is especially known along the San Juan River in Utah where it has spread into side canyons.
Alhagi maurourum grows in masses, is hard to eradicate, and has become a dominant invasive plant in some areas.
Alhagi grows to over three feet tall with many branching stems and it spreads widely from strong rhizomes. Dried stems persist in masses, as the second photograph at the top of the page shows. New growth appears in mid-April and the plant flowers from late May through the summer.
Leaves are entire (not divided as most Pea leaves are), elliptical, and light green.
Thorns are common throughout the plant and even are found at the end of the flowering stem, as shown in the photograph at left. Pods are numerous and distinctively constricted.
In the 18th century Abraham Gagnebin named the genus Alhagi, which is from the Arabic, "al-hajji", "pilgrim". Friedrich Medikus named the species shortly after Gagnebin named the genus.
Range map © John Kartesz,
Species present in state and native
County Color Key
Species present and not rare
Range map for Alhagi maurourum