Alhagi maurorum Medik.
Camel thorn is declared under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994) as a State prohibited weed. The native range of camel thorn extends from India to Asia Minor and southern Russia. How camel thorn was introduced to Australia is unclear, though it was recorded at Rutherglen in 1915. Isolated infestations are also found in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
Camel thorn roots can grow 8 m each year from the parent plant.
What are State prohibited weeds?
State prohibited weeds either do not occur in Victoria, or are present and can reasonably be expected to be eradicated. State prohibited weeds are the highest category of noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994). The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is responsible for the eradication of State prohibited weeds. The Victorian Government is committed to preventing the introduction of high-risk weeds into Victoria, to protect our environment, economy and social values.
Why is it a problem?
Camel thorn is usually found along drainage lines and in irrigated pasture. It has a deep (to 2 m) and vigorous root system, making it strongly competitive with other plants. Lateral roots can grow up to 8 m each year from the parent plant. Camel thorn has been known to break through sealed bitumen roads, while sharp-tipped spines may pose a danger to stock. A major source of spread is from root fragments due to cultivation.
How to identify camel thorn
Camel thorn is found in the northern parts of Victoria, usually associated with irrigated pastures and neglected areas. It is a rigid, much-branched, spiny shrub commonly 25–60 cm tall but can grow to 1.5 m tall. Aerial growth dies in autumn and new shoots emerge from roots in spring.
Leaves are blue-green, arrow-head to oval shaped, often singular; more common on lower branches. Stems bear numerous yellow-tipped spines 1-2.5 cm long.
Flowers are pea-like, 7-10 mm long, brown to red and purple and in clusters of 1-8; in spring to summer. Pods are up to 2.5 cm long and have 1-5 seeds.
What should you do if you find a camel thorn plant?
If you think you have seen a camel thorn plant, please contact DEDJTR by telephoning 136 186.
Please do not attempt to control or dispose of this weed yourself.