E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Salsola tragus L.
Russian thistle
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
(Previously in Chenopodiaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Gordon Neish  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #46880)

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Distribution of Salsola tragus
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems ascending, solitary, freely branched, glabrous to hairy, purplish, 0.1-1.0 m tall, becoming hardened, ridged and rounded in late summer, then breaking at groundlevel to form "tumbleweeds".
Stem leaves alternate, linear, entire, succulent, spiny at the tip, reduced upward but broadened at the base, merging with papery-margined bracts.
Inflorescence of solitary or clustered flowers in the axils of the spiny bracts; calyces 5-parted, becoming winged or keeled on the back.
Thin, papery-walled, membranous envelopes, flattened, purplish, winged with prominent veins, cup-shaped.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones, frequent in S BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Salsola tragus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 279 525 890
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
23 214 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(32), IDF(2), PP(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Salsola australis R. Br.
Salsola iberica (Sennen & Pau) Botsch. ex Czerep.
Salsola kali L.
Salsola kali subsp. ruthenica (Iljin) SoĆ³
Salsola kali subsp. tenuifolia Moq.
Salsola kali subsp. tragus (L.) Celak.
Salsola pestifer A. Nelson
Salsola ruthenica Iljin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References