Tumbleweeds | The Nomadic Plants


Tumbleweeds The Nomadic Plants

It was about 6 years ago and I was 7 years old and visiting my uncle’s fire station and there we saw numerous fire trucks and we even got to play tennis! Then after the tours and the tennis we were able to ride around in on of the fire trucks. It was a nice experience and a comforting one. I don’t remember what I was like back then, but I remember I was having the time of my life. I saw something in the distance then. It looked like a dead bush just gliding in the wind. That’s actually exactly what it was, but I didn’t know that until then. Tumbleweeds may have their own name, but originate from many different plants. Tumbleweeds have actually been recorded from these following groups: The Amaranthaceae, the Amaryllidaceae, the Asphodelaceae, the Asteraceae, the Brassicaceae, the Boraginaceae, the Caryophyllaceae, the Fabaceae, the Lamiaceae, and the Poaceae. If you can’t pronounce the names at all that’s ok. I can’t pronounce the names of these plants at all and i’m the one telling you about them!  You can learn more about these kinds of plants (Here).

Tumbleweeds have a strange way of life as when they are all grown up they detach from their roots and move on. So tumbleweeds are kind of like hippies moving across the country. When a tumbleweed becomes mobile they are pushed by the wind and start spreading seeds. These seeds of the tumbleweed also known as the propagules are the only things alive on the tumbleweed after it detaches. The part that you see, which are the branches, are dried out and dead. It is natural for the branches of a tumbleweed to be in their dead state, however; because it is needed for the branches of the tumbleweed to break down so the seeds/propagules can germinate(fertilize) and escape the tumbleweed, planting themselves in the ground.

Even though tumbleweeds are not overpopulated they can still bunch up together in large groups. Although tumbleweeds do not have a collective name there are many cases of tumbleweeds grouping together being a problem. There are many cases of ruderal species of tumbleweeds that are considered as serious weeds as they corrode vast areas of land.

Tumbleweeds are known to be fun and interesting, but did you know they can actually be dangerous?  The heads of the tumbleweeds can sometimes reach up to 7 meters deep in some place. That’s about the height of 3 Shaquille O’ Neils combined! The local council of Wangaratta is trying to clean up this mess though by attaching large vacuums to the street sweepers, in an attempt to clean it up.

Another danger tumbleweeds produce is that being dry they are highly flammable and can start massive fires. Tumbleweeds also can occur in places where tornadoes occur so if all the conditions are correct there could be a fire tornado! This is one of the most deadliest types of tornadoes in the world, but they look awesome if you’re watching a video. Take for example the video below of this breathtaking fire tornado!

Even though fire tornadoes can be dangerous many tumbleweeds, however; can have actually fun uses. You can build things using tumbleweeds, play games using tumbleweeds, or maybe even collect different types of tumbleweeds! For example a family built a Christmas tree using tumbleweeds as shown on the right. This is a good example of what tumbleweeds can be used for. It really shows that people can be creative no matter what they are using so try doing it yourself!

In summary tumbleweeds can been destructive, but some can be used for constructive and creative purposes. They’re fun to play with, they’re amazing to watch, and can be used to build decorative things. Overall tumbleweeds are fun and enjoyable things that can give a western flare in movies, but be warned tumbleweeds can come in the thousands at once and can be highly flammable, but hey don’t let my writing change your thoughts about tumbleweeds i’m just some writer sitting in a corner, facing a wall!

Sites Used:

Wikipedia | Tumbleweed

News Report of Wangaratta


This article was created by Logan Rice and may not be used without permission from the author.

You can contact the author with this address: logan.rice@student.hbcsd.org

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