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Fun Facts about Central Oregon Tumbleweed

In the beginning, it was a summer annual native plant confined to southeastern Russia and western Siberia. But it was imported into the United States in 1873 in Russian flax seed planted by the immigrants in South Dakota.

Like most noxious weeds, after the initial introduction it spread by contaminated seed, threshing crews, railroad cars (especially livestock cars), and by its windblown method of seed dissemination. Today it is common throughout the western United States and covers about 100 million acres.

For a brief phase during its youth, it may be grazed but afterward becomes too spiny and woody to be edible to most wildlife and livestock.  It is particularly well adapted to our climate of winter precipitation and summer drought.

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