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MONSTER HYBRID TUMBLEWEED SPECIES IS TAKING OVER CALIFORNIA, SCIENTISTS WARN
A new invasive species of tumbleweed that can grow up to six feet in height is taking over parts of California—and scientists are warning it could spread even further as climate change makes its growing conditions more favorable.
Salsola ryanii was first identified in California in 2002. It is a hybrid made up of two other invasive species—Salsola tragus, which is native to Russia and China, and Salsola australis, from Australia and South Africa. The latter, scientists say, is "one of the world's worst weeds" and is currently found in 48 U.S. states. The new species, is however, far bigger and faster growing than its parents, reaching about six feet in height.
A tumbleweed is a plant that breaks away from its roots towards the end of summer. It is blown around by the wind—its means of seed dispersal. In doing this, tumbleweeds cause huge problems. They can lead to traffic accidents and damage property. Invasive species also cause problems for the agriculture industry and native ecosystems.