Russian Thistle

Salsola tragus



Description: The Russian thistle is a noxious bushy annual.  It has rigid branches and bracts at maturity. 


Ecological Threat: This plant can act as the host for the beet leafhopper which brings in an array of ecological threats all its own.  In cases such as heavy nitrogen fertilization the nitrates can build up to poisonous levels in the plant. 


Biology & Spread: Germination requires little moisture and occurs within a few hours. Average sized plants can produce 1500-2000 seeds while larger plants can produce up to 100,000 seeds.  Seeds disperse when the plant breaks off and tumbles with the wind. 


Threat in Oklahoma: This plant infests disturbed areas and disrupts native plant communities. 

Image Credit:Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,
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