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Common Name: Russian Thistle

Other Names: Tumbleweed, Tumbling Thistle

Species Name: Salsola iberica

Plant Type: Broadleafs/Herbaceous

Family Name: Chenopodiaceae





Plant Facts  
Origin Introduced, Europe
Duration Annual
Season Warm
Distribution in the U.S. Throughout the Great Plains, but most frequent in the western portion of the region, especially where small grains are grown
Distribution in Oklahoma Throughout the state



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics
    • Leaves are alternate and thread-like, tips are spinose, upper leaves thickened at the base and enclosing the fruit, surfaces without hair to pubescent; sessile to clasping
    • The stems are branched and usually red streaked
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Leaf Type: Sessile
    • Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    • Leaf Shape: Long, cylindrical
    • Stems: Erect, much-branched, usually red-streaked
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Petal Number: None
    • Sepals: 5
    • Flower color: Green
    • Flower Timing: August-October
    • Fruit Type: Ericle; pericarp freshly, obovoid, tip winged; seeds 1
    • Inflorescence: Spike-like, auxillary
    • Seed: Black, round, smooth, shiny



Soil Type Varying
Habitat Cultivated dryland crops, abused rangeland, abandoned fields and waste areas
Successional Stage Mid


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