Russian thistle USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: SATR12
Salsola tragus L.
Synonym(s): prickly Russian thistle

Appearance
Salsola tragus is an annual herb that can grow to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall. It was introduced into the United States in the mid 1870s, possibly as a contaminant in flax seed.
Foliage
Leaves are alternate and narrow. Upper leaves have a sharp point at the apex and are 1.3-2 in. (3.3-5.1 cm) long.
Flowers
Flowering occurs from midsummer to fall, when small, pink to greenish flowers develop from the leaf axils. Each flower is subtended by 3, spine-tipped leaves.
Fruit
Fruits are 0.19-0.31 in. (4.8-7.9 mm) in diameter including the wings. Wings are opaque with smooth margins and veins.
Ecological Threat
After Salsola tragus matures it detaches from the root system and tumbles in the wind, spreading seed (like another common name “tumbleweed” suggests). It is native to Eurasia.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources