Salsola tragus

Salsola tragus_Russian thistle_Bob Case_cropped
Photo: Bob Case

Synonyms: Salsola australis, S. iberica, S. kali var. tenuifolia, S. kali ssp. ruthenica, S. kali ssp. tenuifolia, S. kali ssp. tragus, S. pestifera, S. ruthenica.

Common names: Russian thistle; common saltwort; prickly Russian thistle; Russian tumbleweed; tumbleweed; tumbling weed; windwitch; witchweed; prickly glasswort

Salsola tragus (Russian-thistle) is a large, bushy summer annual (family Chenopodiaceae). It can be found throughout California, including in agricultural areas, desert, roadsides and other disturbed areas. Russian-thistle can impede traffic, create fire hazards, and is a host of the beet leaf-hopper, an agricultural insect pest.

Cal-IPC Rating: Limited

CDFA Rating: C*

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Special Reports

Pest Notes on Russian Thistle (From the University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program)

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Salsola tragus Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - See the distribution of this species on Calflora's map of California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • CDFA - California official noxious weeds.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
  • EDDMapS - North American distribution based on Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System.
  • Additional photos

    Salsola tragus_Russian thistle_JM DiTomaso_cropped
    Salsola tragus, Russian thistle, leaves and stem. Photo: JM DiTomaso