Northern Ag Network Note: While we admit that we aren't too crazy about the idea of selling seeds for Russian Thistle, you got to hand it to the person who dreamed up marketing them as Tumbleweed seeds!
Check out their pitch:
Tumbleweeds For Sale
Tumbleweeds are a classic sight in the American West. At the end of a growing season, the mature plants detach themselves from their roots and roll with the wind, spreading their seeds far and wide. In the spring when the temperatures are right, the tumbleweed seeds send out roots and if they find enough moisture they grow fast and tall, but in a unique ball shape so that they in turn can tumble across the desert prairie. On windy summer days it sometimes seems that the whole desert is moving, a rolling living thing. Prairie tumbleweeds bound across your path… or, in this day and age, tumble across the freeway as you’re driving along. Tumbleweeds (Tumble weeds) an are unmistakably a trademark of the West. Great to use with dried grasses or pine cones for decorations.
The classic Tumbleweeds made famous by cowboy and western movies from Hollywood is actually not a native of the American West. Known as the Russian Thistle, the tumbleweed actually emigrated from the prairies of Mongolia. One theory is that some of the seeds hitched a ride with a shipment of grain. Another theory is that tumbleweed seeds used their spiny shells to attach to burlap bags and were carried to America and then were transported westward on the rail lines. When the cargo was unloaded, the tumbleweed seeds fell onto the newly broken ground around the train tracks and found the optimal place to grow. Russian Thistle is a hardy plant that grows in areas where the ground has been disturbed and nothing else has grown yet. They can grow where there is a high salt content in the soil and very little water present.
They've earned themselves the scientific name Salsola because of this ability to grow in salty areas. However they got here, the tumbleweed has found a home in the American West, much to the dismay of farmers and ranchers who find the weeds pesky and annoying as they are now ever-present and choke the ability of other plants to grow. Rumor has it that in Russia there are a plethora of rabbits that eat the sprouts of tumbleweed plants, thus reducing the number of plants that actually reach maturity. Unfortunately none of these rabbits were brought on the emigration, and although cattle, horses, sheep and rodents will eat the young plants if other food sources are not available, there are too many tumbleweeds spreading their seeds across the country to keep their population in check.
CLICK HERE to check out their selection of tumbleweeds for sale
Source: Curious Country Creations