BACKGROUND: Native to Eurasia, camelthorn is a weed of rangeland, cropland, scrub wasteland, and waterways. It grows in dry or moist environments, tolerates poor soils, and can form dense stands. The plant is unpalatable and potentially harmful to livestock. It can also become a contaminant in alfalfa seed.
DESCRIPTION : A rhizomatous, thorny, highly branched herbaceous perennial that grows up to 4 feet tall. Pea-like flowers are pink to red and borne on spines that branch off the stems. Spine tips are dry and yellowed. Rhizomes penetrate deeply and spread aggressively, with new plants regenerating easily from rhizome fragments. Seeds are borne in reddish- brown capsules, retain viability for several years, and are dispersed by animals or water.
CONTROL: Mowing and cultivation of mature plants encourage new growth, and should be avoided. Herbicides can be effective, if used long- term. Contact your state or county weed specialist for specific, updated information.