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Alhagi maurorum - Medik.

Camel Thorn

AuthorMedik. Botanical references1, 93
FamilyLeguminosae GenusAlhagi
SynonymsAlhagi camelorum - Fisch.
Alhagi persarum - Boiss.&Buhse.
Alhagi pseudalhagi - (M.Bieb.)Desv. ex B.Keller.&Shap.
Hedysarum pseudalhagi - M.Bieb.
Known HazardsNone known
RangeW. Asia - Caucasus to the Himalayas.
HabitatEdges of ditches, waste and often saline places etc in Turkey[93]. Grows in dry barren places[146].
Edibility Ratingapple iconapple icon 2 (1-5) Medicinal Ratingapple iconapple icon 2 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man icon of shrub A decidious Shrub growing to 2m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.


Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Manna.

A sweet-tasting manna is exuded from the twigs at flowering time[2, 22, 105, 177]. It is exuded during hot weather according to one report[1]. It contains about 47% melizitose, 26% sucrose, 12% invert sugar[114]. Another manna is obtained from the pods - it is sweet and laxative[61]. Root - cooked. A famine food, it is only used in times of need[46, 61, 177].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Laxative.

The whole plant is diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative[46, 114]. An oil from the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism[238]. The flowers are used in the treatment of piles[238].

Other Uses

None known

Scented Plants

Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a pineapple scent.

Cultivation details

Requires a sunny position in a well-drained light or medium soil. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they can be grown outdoors in the summer but require protection in the winter[1]. The stems of the plant are covered in sharp spines[245]. Like the closely related gorse (Ulex europaea) the flowers have a pineapple scent[245]. (A slightly strange report because the gorse flowers have a strong coconut fragrance[K].) This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].


Seed - pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow March/April in a warm greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out into their permanent positions in the summer. Cuttings of young shoots in a frame[1].



[K] Ken Fern
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[2] Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications 1972 ISBN 0-486-20459-6
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.

[22] Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. 0
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.

[46] Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim 1959
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.

[61] Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable 1974 ISBN 0094579202
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.

[93] Davis. P. H. Flora of Turkey. Edinburgh University Press 1965
Not for the casual reader, this is an immense work in many volumes. Some details of plant uses and habitats.

[105] Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing 1976
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.

[114] Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. 0
It is surprising how many of these plants can be grown in Britain. A very readable book on the useful plants of Iraq.

[146] Gamble. J. S. A Manual of Indian Timbers. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh 1972
Written last century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.

[177] Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books 1984 ISBN 3874292169
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[238] Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. 1995 ISBN 0-7513-020-31
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

[245] Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. 1994 ISBN 0-7090-5440-8
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.



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