Plant ID forum: Desert Invasive or Native species?

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May 12, 2016 7:48 AM CST
(also posted on Gardenweb)

We live in Springdale, UT outside of Zion national park, in the pinyon juniper forest/desert. Zion is the intersection of the colorado plateau, the great basin, and the mohave desert, so we have flora from all 3 areas. This plant popped up 3 years ago at the base of one of our roof gutter drainage pipes.

It has small (but easily breakable) thorns on the base of the stems. It has inconspicuous blooms on stalks in the fall. And it loses it's leaves for the winter, with new growth starting the next spring on the existing base stalks. It is also grows relatively quickly (about 3-5") per year.

I have looked up every plant in the Zion Native Plant list, and I am unable to find it anywhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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