The funny thing is... the tumbleweed we know here in the US isn't actually suppose to be here... because it is an invasive species! On windy days it crosses your path constantly while driving down I-25 in Colorado. It just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling.... until it hits a fence. Tumbleweed didn't show up in America till the late 1800s. Its true name? Russian thistle. It is believed that some stowaway seeds found their way into a shipment of flax seeds to South Dakota from Russia.
|Fences... a tumbleweed's un-natural enemy. Photo by: Matt Brincka|
Now Russia thistle is considered a noxious weed, out-competing native species for the scarce amount of water these ecosystems provide. Essentially, this invasive is turning the habitat it lives in into a mono-culture, effectively producing large plots of land unavailable for grazing animals, both livestock and wildlife.
|This pile of tumbleweed is roughly 6-8 feet high... that is a lot of tumbleweed.|
Photo by: Matt Brincka