Synonym(s): Alhagi camelorum
Duration and Habit: Perennial Shrub
A. maurorum is a perennial shrub that can range from 1-4 ft in height. The plant’s branches are covered in yellow, sharp spines that can grow to 2 inches in length. The leaves are lanceolate and grow in an alternate arrangement. Each leaf is 0.25-1.25 inches long with smooth margins. The small maroon, pea-like flowers grow from the spines from June to August. The seeds are beaked with seed pods constricted between each seed. (camelthorn, 2010)
Ecological Threat: Due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions, A. maurorum can out-compete native plants and quickly colonization area. Rhizomes can reach as far as 15 ft. in search of a water source, allowing it to better compete for water and nutrients than short-rooted natives in shallow or semi-arid soils. (Oregon Department of Agriculture, 2011)
Biology & Spread: A. maurorum reproduces from both seed and rhizome. The rhizomes of each individual plant can run from 6 to 15 ft. deep and spread to 40 ft. in diameter. Vegetative reproduction can quickly lead to the growth of a colony as each daughter plant can grow its own root system. Reproduction by seed is much slower as seeds have a lower germination rate. Seeds germinate more successfully when passed through the digestive tract of an herbivore or are scarified and subsequently covered during disturbance such as flash flooding. (Oregon Department of Agriculture, 2011)
History: Originally introduced as a contaminant in alfalfa seed shipped from Turkey in the early 1900’s.
U.S. Habitat: A. maurorum is adapted to thrive in arid ecoregions like scrub wastelands, agricultural fields, right of ways and areas with an accessible water supply during its growing season.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to the U.S.
Native Origin: Eastern Mediterranean to Russia
U.S. Present: AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, TX, UT, WA
Distribution: Throughout much of western United States. Presently only in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas.
“Manual control is not practical on establish plants. One study evaluating the effect of mowing on camelthorn showed 194 new shoots arising from rhizome nodes of one plant that was mowed. Some research has suggested that repeated mowing could eventually exhaust food reserves in the roots, weaken the plant and aid in the chemical control of camelthorn. The use of triclopyr and picloram during the spring and early summer when the plants are actively growing has proven to have some success when the products are injected 3 feet into the soil near the base of the plant (may not be a legal application in Oregon). Foliar applied 2,4-D has also been used in camelthorn control when the species is activily growing. Metsulfuron applied during bolting to early flower stage has been recommended to treat camelthorn infestations also. No single control method, or any one-year treatment plan, will achieve effective control of camelthorn infestations. The plants fast growth habit, deep root system, ease of spread in agricultural fields, and long seed dormancy insures the plant will continue to persist in spite of long-term treatment programs.” (Oregon Department of Agriculture, 2011)USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
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