What is tumbleweed?

(Amaranthus albus)

TumbleweedGeneric Weed Distribution Map

  • Tumbleweed is a weed of roadsides and waste areas.
  • Tumbleweed is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of tumbleweed are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify tumbleweed

  • Tumbleweed is an annual herb (living for one year) with pale green to white stems and growing to 30 to 90 cm high. Clusters of small, greenish flowers are carried in the axils of the leaves (note that other common species of Amaranthus in Tasmania produce flowers in clusters at the end of branches). Seeds germinate in late spring to early summer. Flowering is between mid-summer and autumn, and plants die off in autumn. Tumbleweed can have two flowering events in a season, and a single plant can produce several hundred thousand seeds.
  • Tumbleweed plants grow in a bushy, semi-globular form. At the end of the growing season the plant withers and detaches from its base, and the dried bush is then blown along the ground in a 'tumbling' manner. Seeds can be scattered over wide distances by the tumbling bush.

Image top: Tumbleweed (Image: L Rignanese)
Image above left: Tumbleweed (Image: S Matson)
Image above right: Tumbleweed (Image: P Martin II)

Tumbleweed in Tasmania

  • In Tasmania tumbleweed is found mostly in association with railway lines. Tumbleweed has been recorded from the north-west between Forest and Stanley, at Deloraine in the north, at Bridgewater and in the Derwent Valley in the south, and in the Midlands (see map). In Tasmania, all infestations have been associated with railway lines, suggesting seed may have been transported in or on rail cars.
  • Tumbleweed is a serious weed of roadsides and waste areas, crops, and unimproved pasture. Tumbleweed does not appear to invade undisturbed sites.

What is the legal status of tumbleweed in your area?

Detailed management and control guidelines for tumbleweed can be found in the Tumbleweed Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Tumbleweed Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also
Tumbleweed Control Guide
Statutory Management Plan for Tumbleweed
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links

Pest Genie

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