Salsola tragus L.

Russian Thistle
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)


Russian thistle, also known as tumbleweed, is a dense intricately -branched annual forming a roundish, bushy clump, growing 1' to 4' tall, glabrous to short-stiff-hairy, usually soft and somewhat fleshy when young and aging dry and brittle.  The leaves are 1-1/4" to 2" long, alternate, very slender, and with a sharp prickly point.  The flowers are in the leaf axils and look like membranous saucers, pink or reddish in the center, with a subtranslucent, wavy conspicuously-veined calyx and no petals, each subtended by three ovate, short-acuminate, prickle-pointed bracts. Russian thistle, which formerly was named Salsola iberica, is an extremely common inhabitant of many plant communities in waste and disturbed areas and cultivated fields, blooming from July to October.  In the fall it often breaks off at ground level and tumbles along the ground dropping its seeds, which are black and shining.  It is native to Eurasia.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Salsola 2) tragus.
Pronunciation: sal-SO-la TRAY-gus.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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