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

Russian thistle 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. Leaves are alternate and narrow. Upper leaves have a sharp point at the apex and are 1.3-2 in. (3-5 cm) long. 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. After the plant matures it detaches from the root system and tumbles in the wind, spreading seed (like another common name “tumbleweed” suggests).

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