Camelthorn: declared pest

Page last updated: Saturday, 28 September 2019 - 12:22pm

Camelthorn (Alhagi maurorum) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA). This article describes the nature of the plant with links to requirements land owners/occupiers must adhere to and pest control methods.

Form: shrub — perennial

Status: present in WA

Camelthorn is native to southeast Russia and parts of Asia, including India. It occurs primarily in dry open rangeland in deep moist soil, but it also occurs in dry, rocky, or saline soils. A deep-rooted, rhizomatous, perennial shrub, with roots that can extend two to three metres into the ground. Because of its deep root system, camelthorn grows successfully in dry, rocky, saline soil, making it a weed in rangeland that competes with preferred forage. The species is also a potential contaminant of alfalfa seed.


The spiny, intricately-branched shrub reaches 45 centimetres to 1.2 metres in height. The plant, is greyish green and hairless. The rigid stems bear numerous sharp spines to two to five centimetres long.

Leaves: Simple and entire leaves that are alternately arranged. The leaf shape is oval to lance-shaped.

Flowers: Small (0.9 centimetres), pea-like flowers are pinkish purple to maroon and are borne on short, spine-tipped branches that arise from the leaf axils.

Fruits: Reddish-brown to tan pods, to two to five centimetres long, constricted between the seeds, with a short narrow beak at the end.

Camelthorn is a rhizomatous perennial that can give rise to aerial shoots up to 7.5 metres away from parent plant.

Agricultural and economic impact

Invades pastures and is not palatable to animals.

Declared pest category

The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which this pest is declared and the control and keeping categories to which it has been assigned in Western Australia (WA). Search for camelthorn in the WAOL using the scientific name Alhagi maurorum.

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons if this pest is found can be sourced through the declared plant requirements link.

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Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080

Control method

Control methods for this declared plant can be found through the camelthorn control link.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
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