Russian Thistle, Spiny Saltwort, Tumbleweed

Salsola kali

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Salsola (SAL-so-la) (Info)
Species: kali
Synonym:Salsola dichracantha
Synonym:Salsola iberica



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hereford, Arizona

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 11, 2012, sugarweed from Taylor Creek, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Tumbleweed is much hardier than indicated in this report. It grows in very cold areas of the Plains in the US.
In my childhood we constructed a Christmas tree of these stacked together and flocked. It was gorgeous.
This is a non native being removed from beaches in Florida.


On Feb 18, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Tumbleweed is actually common to most of the United States. I have seen huge speciments tumble across the roads on especially windy days. They love very tough locations like cracks in concrete and asphalt, will thrive on very little soil. Very common on concrete road divider, declining commerical properties, dead parking lots, islands in parking lot when not controlled by landscape services, and even once in a while roadside between the grasses and the tiny ragweeds.


On May 18, 2005, TamaraFaye from Fritch, TX (Zone 6b) wrote:

Hard to imagine a positive experience with tumbleweeds??? Read on...The seeds from these can last MANY years, so around here they commonly come up after cultivating the ground. They indicate a salty ground, and in my case, it was hardpan. So, as an experiment, I studied what I could find about these in order to make them useful. Since nothing else would grow in that spot (I tried, it all died, roots couldn't get nutrients from that kind of soil), I allowed the russian thistle to grow and absorb the salt (their job in life), which was likely in the form of potassium sulfate. The plant converts it to nutrients, so I planned to use them as mulch to put the potassium back into the soil. The key to prevent the propagation of these plants, is to wait to pull them until after they have blo... read more


On Jul 19, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Yes, this is the one in all those western movies.