Noxious Weed of the Month: camelthorn

Photo courtesy Ethan Proud
Camelthorn is a noxious weed on the Colorado A list, meaning goal is eradication when found. It has not been found in Colorado, but is present along the West Coast from Washington to California and inland as far as New Mexico and Utah.

By Ethan Proud | PREVIEW Columnist 

If you have been keeping up with the Noxious Weed of the Month for the past five seasons, then you have been introduced to most of the weed species that are found in Archuleta County. This season, we will focus largely on plant species that are not present in Archuleta County. 

Does this mean that you should skip these featured species? Not at all. The easiest weed to manage is the one that you don’t have yet. Prevention is the most cost-effective management strategy and a cornerstone of Archuleta County Weed and Pest’s educational campaign.

To kick off this year’s Noxious Weed of the Month, we will cover camelthorn, a noxious weed on the Colorado A List. Its status on the A list means that the goal is eradication whenever found. It has not been reported in Colorado yet, but it has been found along the San Juan River in Utah and is present along the West Coast from Washington to California and inland as far as New Mexico and Utah.

Camelthorn is in the pea family and is a perennial shrub that grows up to 4 feet tall. The flowers range from pinkish purple to maroon and mature into reddish-brown seed pods. The stems are stiff and covered in half-inch-long thorns. Camelthorn reproduces by both seeds and rhizomes, or lateral roots, which can spread 32 feet in a single season. 

This plant is a tenacious invader and can grow through asphalt and housing structures. Camelthorn forms dense stands which have little forage value for wildlife and can become impenetrable for both humans and wildlife due to its thorns.

If you spot this plant in Archuleta County, please report it to the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Department.

Upcoming events

April 8 and 15 — The Archuleta County Master Gardeners will be at Terry’s Ace for the 4 Ws of gardening in Pagosa Springs.

April 22 — Earth Day Events. Look for details in The SUN.

April 24 — An evening discussion on the diverse perspectives of wolves in Colorado. Details to be determined. 

April 28 — An evening discussion on climate and weather at 6 p.m. at the Extension office.

April 29 — Viticulture Workshop. Details to be determined. 

May 6 — Weed Warrior Program presentations from 9 a.m. to noon at the Extension building. The Weed Warrior Program will cover an introduction to noxious weeds, their control and how to be a steward in your community. Please RSVP with Ethan Proud at

May 10 and 11 — Certified seed potato sale.

Local Noxious Weed
Advisory Board vacancies

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) is seeking to fill open positions on the Local Noxious Weed Advisory Board.

According to the Colorado Noxious Weed Act title 35 article 5.5, the local advisory board is appointed by the BoCC. Members will help update the Integrated Pest Management Plan at least every three years and voice suggestions to county staff for ultimate approval by the BoCC. 

If you are interested in a position, please see for eligibility and responsibilities. If you believe someone would be suited for the role, please nominate them for a position on the board using the form at

Applications and nominations will be accepted from March 6 to April 15.

Certified seed potato sale

Certified seed potato will be on sale for $2 per pound on May 10 and 11. This year we will not be taking orders; it is a first-come, first-served service. Please bring your own bag or box to take your seed home. 

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office, generally on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 246-5931 to register.