RUSSIAN THISTLE, a bushy weed with prickly leaves that is particularly troublesome in grainfields. Also known as tumbleweed, the Russian thistle (Salsola kali tenuifolia) is a member of the goosefoot family, Chenopodiaceae.
It is native to Europe and Asia but now also grows wild in North America, particularly in prairie and plains regions. It reaches a height of about 2 feet (60 cm) and has a branehed stem and inconspicuous flowers. In autumn the dead and dried branehes form a mass that breaks away from the stem as tumbleweed. The tumbleweed is widely dispersed by the wind, scattering seeds.