• Double O Arch


    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Delicate Arch Viewpoint Inaccessible

    Wolfe Ranch and the hiking trail to Delicate Arch are open, but flood waters and mud have blocked the road to Delicate Arch Viewpoint.

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen near Devils Garden Campground. Don't lure or feed them. Dispose of trash in designated receptacles; don't leave it in bags or other soft containers. Store food in vehicles or hard containers when not being prepared or consumed. More »

Russian-thistle (Tumbleweed)

Salsola tragus

Salsola tragus

Synonym: Salsola pestifer

Family: Chenopodiaceae – Goosefoot Family

Annual herbs; 3.9” to 5.9” (1 to 1.5 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate; simple; grey or bluish; entire; can have hairs; 0.6” to 2.4” (1.5 to 6 cm) long, 0.012” to 0.032” (0.3 to 0.8 mm) wide

Flowers: 0 petals; 2-5 sepals, 0.1” to 0.14” (2.5 to 3.5 mm) long; 1 pistil, 1-3 stigmas; 2 or 3 styles; 5 stamens; small and inconspicuous, small, greenish; perfect

Pollinators: other Salsola species are pollinated by wind

Fruits: utricles – small 1 seeded fruit with a thin wall; large number of seeds that persist

Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June, July, August, September, October

Habitat in Arches National Park : weed in disturbed areas; characteristically grows on halophytic (salty) soils

Location seen: around Visitor Center buildings and entrance road

Other: The genus name, “Salsola”, means “salty” referring to the taste of the young leaves. The species name, “tragus” is possibly from the Greek “tragos” which means “a part of the ear”, "goat" or from Hieronymous Tragus, the Greek name for Jerome Bock (1498-1554), physician, scholar, and one of the three fathers of German botany. The species name, “pestifer”, means “pest” referring to this plant's bad reputation.

Russian-thistle was first introduced into South Dakota around 1873 with flaxseed from Russia . The plant spread over the American West in a few decades.

Plants in this family are generally weedy, but beets and spinach are members of this family. The family is called the goosefoot family because the leaf shape may look like a goose's foot.

Did You Know?

John Wesley Wolfe

In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.