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Agricultural Experiment Station. 





The rapid and wide distribution that the Russian thistle has attained 
during the past few years, together with the great damage that it is 
said to have caused, has given it a prominence quite beyond that of any 
ordinary weed pest. The recent discovery that the plant was already 
an invader in northern Illinois has much increased the interest manifested 
in this state. To add to the information of the general reader concern- 
ing this plant and to aid, as far as possible, in preventing the further 
spread of so common a foe are the chief aims of this publication. In 
taking up the subject, it will best serve our aims to consider first the 
relationships, in a botanical way, of the plant. 


Systematic relations. Although usually in this country called the 
Russian thistle, this plant has applied to it a variety of common names, 
such as Russian cactus, Russian tumbleweed, prickly saltwort, Tartar 
thistle, Hector weed, wind witch, leap-the-field, etc. Scientifically it is 
known as Salsola Kali Tragus (L.) Moq. It is one of the members of 
the goosefoot family. In this state the best known representative of 
the family is the lamb's-quarters, common in waste places; while of the 
cultivated plants, the beet may be mentioned as the most prominent. 
The common tumbleweed and the pigweed of our gardens, although 
near relatives, belong to a different family. About half of the mem- 
bers of the goosefoot family occurring in eastern United States are 
importations from other countries, and it is with these, naturalized resi- 
dents that the Russian thistle belongs. Altogether about eighty genera 


BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

belong to this family, and these are represented in various parts of the 
world by between five and six hundred species. The genus Salsola, 
of which our plant is a member, is said to embrace forty species, of 
which only one has been found native in the United States. This is 
the common saltwort found along our eastern coast and occasionally 
introduced inland. To this plant botanists have given the name Salsola 
Kali, and the Russian thistle is now considered as a variety of it called 

Life history. Let us now turn more directly to a study of the 
plant, tracing it hastily through its annual steps of development from 
the germinating seed to maturity. The matured fruit of the plant con- 
tains but a single seed, and is peculiar in that the calyx, which forms its 
covering, is broadly winged on the middle of each of the five lobes with 
a conspicuous spreading appendage, while the lobes form a sort of cen- 
tral beak covering the remains of the styles. Pulling off the dry, mem- 
branous calyx, one finds the obconical seed body, which is about one- 
sixteenth of an inch in diameter at the upper end. The top is some- 
what depressed, and shows by a slight elevation at the center the 
remains of the styles. The embryonic plant entirely fills the seed, 
being coiled spirally within it. The primary stem, or caulicle, and the 
first pair of leaves, or cotyledons, are all easily made out. 

In the spring the seed germinates by bursting off its covering and 
by uncoiling and elongating this primary stem and its pair of leaves. 
The caulicle elongates considerable, forming a very slender red stem. 
Soon the development of the root is shown at the lower end by the 
appearance of the root hairs, and then other cylindrical linear leaves are 
developed gradually at the growing point between the first pair. Next 
branching begins from the stem. The growth at first is slow, and the 
leaves are borne rather closely together. While young the plants are 
quite succulent, and the soft fleshy leaves, though tipped with their 
spines, are not obnoxious. 

After the plant has grown slowly for some time, varying with 
-season and locality, it gradually loses its succulent character, the leaves 
and stems becoming somewhat rigid by the abundance of mineral matter 
gained, and by the proportional loss of water. Drier weather favors a 
rapid development, and with it the stems lengthen and the floral 
branches with their short spine-tipped bracts are further developed. 
The normal leaves are linear bodies approaching somewhat the shape 
and size of Norway spruce leaves. These fall off in time. The bracts 
appearing on the floral branches are shorter (about ^ to i^ of an inch) 
and are expanded into a sessile winged base, so that they have a some- 
what triangular shape. At maturity they are quite rigid, and thus form 
the objectionable feature of the plant, as they are spine-tipped. These 
bracts are grouped in clusters of threes, arranged numerously around 
the branches in well developed plants. The lower of the three occu- 
pies the position of the normal leaf, and with the other two laterally in 


its axil forms a well protected place for the single flower enclosed by 
them. The flowers are small, lacking the petals of most flowers, but 
with the rose-colored calyx well developed, and with five stamens and 
two styles. 

The seeds are not matured in this state apparently until the latter 
part of September or later. If the conditions for development have 
been favorable, we find large bushy plants, some attaining a diameter of 
six feet and a height of two. If, however, the plants are crowded or 
late in germinating, they remain more slender or are more straggling, 
and do not develop into so large plants. After the plants have begun to 
mature, they become striped on the stems and bracts with rose-red lines. 
Later in the fall the stems become twisted near their roots, so that 
eventually they are broken loose. In the winter the dead plants show 
no sign of the purple striping. 

Identification of the plant. A good many mistakes in calling other 
plants the Russian thistle have been made. The plant, however, has 
certain marked features that readily serve to distinguish it from any 
other weed occurring in this state. The most prominent of these may 
here be repeated. 

1. In the first place the leaves alone are sufficient to distinguish it. 
Instead of having the normally flat blades that most leaves possess, its 
leaves are nothing more than needle-shaped bodies one or two inches 
long by about one twenty-fifth of an inch in diameter, and are provided 
with a small spiny tip. When young the leaves are soft and juicy. 

2. With older plants the ultimate or flowering branches are pro- 
vided with shorter, rigid leaves having somewhat expanded bases. Each 
of these leaves has two similar lateral bracts, or leaves, in its axil, so 
that the three short, somewhat triangular bracts serve as a convenient 
place for the flower, and when the seed is developed it is enclosed rather 
securely between the bracts and the stem. These bracts are rather 
numerous on the stem, spreading out at nearly right angles. 

3. The fruit is peculiar in that at maturity it is still tightly en- 
closed by the five parts of the calyx, each of which is winged on the 
back with a spreading appendage. The lobes of the calyx also meet in 
the center above the fruit in a sort of beak. 

4. The seed is characterized by the embryo, or young plant, which 
entirely fills it. This embryo, which consists of a slender stem and two 
green linear leaves, is coiled spirally, so that it gives the seed an obconical 
shape. These parts can be made out by soaking the seed in water, if 
dry, and then carefully pulling it apart with needles. 

5. The rose-red streaking of the plants as they approach maturity, 
although common with other members of this family, is also striking. 

Comparison of Russian thistle 'with saltwort. As was stated at 
first, the Russian thistle is now regarded as a variety of the species of 
saltwort found native along our eastern coast. When first reported in 
Dakota, it was thought by botanists to be this saltwort. The variety is 

9O BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

a native of southern Russia, and at that time had never been reported 
in the United States. Mr. J. N. Rose, of the Division of Botany, 
Washington, was the first to determine the Dakota specimens as belong- 
ing to the variety, reporting this in a paper read before the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, in August, 1891. 

The saltwort, Salsola Kali, seems to be somewhat variable, two or 
three other varieties having been associated with it. In fact, the varia- 
bility of the plant is such that European specimens of the species that 
are in the herbarium of the University of Illinois correspond more in 
general appearance with the variety as found here than they do with 
specimens of the species from the coast of this country. This tendency 
to vary may lead to some confusion of the species and variety in this 
country when they become inhabitants of the same locality. While the 
coast form is said never to become an obnoxious weed where now found, 
if introduced in favorable localities in the West it might possibly develop 
into one. 

The general appearance of the living plants seems to be their most 
constant point of difference. From an examination of a few pressed 
specimens, our saltwort seemed to be a coarser plant than the variety. 
Mr. L. H. Dewey gives the following points of difference between the 
two forms, the characters given, however, should not be considered as 
constant in all cases. He says: " The variety Tragus differs from the 
typical form of Salsola Kali, which is common along the Atlantic 
coast, in the following characters: The leaves of the mature plant are 
very little longer than the leaf-like bracts which they subtend, while in 
the typical form of the species they are generally two to four times as 
long. The calyx is membranaceous and nearly always bright rose- 
colored, and the wings on the backs of the calyx lobes are much larger 
than the ascending lobes, while in the typical form the calyx is coria- 
ceous and usually dull white or only slightly rose-colored, and the wings 
are thick, comparatively narrow, and less prominent than the ascending 
lobes. The species itself is less bushy in habit and less rigid at 


Means of distribution. Nature has rather liberally provided the 
Russian thistle with means for the dissemination of its seeds. This fact, 
taken together with the great number of seeds that some of the plants 
produce, and the protection afforded the plant by its spiny leaves, 
accounts in a great measure for the vigor with which the weed has 
usurped certain territory and spread to such an alarming extent over the 
country. As has been previously stated, the stems late in the fall 
become twisted at their bases. This twisting, with the help of the wind, 
eventually tears the plants free. With their bushy, compact form, the 
plants are admirably adapted to be carried by the wind rolling over the 
ground. Thus, as the seeds become loosened, they are scattered over a 


much greater territory than those of many plants. Again, the winged 
condition of the covering is such that it may aid, by means of the wind, 
the further distribution of the seed. Prof. C. S. Crandall states that in 
Colorado irrigating ditches have been active means in spreading the 
plant in some places. 

Besides these natural means, the plant has had an active helper in 
man. Obnoxious weeds, like some animals, follow man in his travels. 
In this case the railroad has been the most important factor in the dis- 
tribution of the pest, especially in its advance eastward. Plants adher- 
ing to the trucks of trains, seed carried in the manure of stock cars, 
grain seeds brought from infected localities, all have been common 
means of introduction. 

Distribution in foreign countries. The United States is not alone 
a sufferer from this plant. It has long been known as a foe in southern 
parts of European and Asiatic Russia. The species Salsola Kali, from 
which possibly it is not always distinguished, is found on sandy soil 
scattered over Europe, as well as in Asia, Australia, and North and 
South America. 

Distribution in America. According to the best authorities the 
plant was introduced into the United States about 1873, at Scotland, 
Bonhomme county, South Dakota. This county has a settlement of 
Russian Jews who originally came from an infected region in southern 
Russia. It is thought that the plant was imported by them through 
impure flax seed brought from their native home. From this point in 
the southern part of the state, and possibly from others, the pest at first 
gradually and later rapidly spread until now it has been reported in 
seventeen states, and in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada. Some- 
thing of the present distribution of the plant may be gained from the 
following notes, gathered chiefly from the publications of the govern- 
ment and the various experiment stations. 

SOUTH DAKOTA, introduced about 1873; now found over the greater part of the 
state, in some places causing abandonment of cultivated fields. 

NEBRASKA, found as early as 1888, probably introduced earlier; now occurring in 
over thirty counties. 

IOWA, reported in 1888; now found in a number of widely separated localities. 

NORTH DAKOTA, noticed in 1888 or earlier; now spread considerably over the 
state, being especially bad in several counties. 

MINNESOTA, introduced at least as early as 1891; now reported from many locali- 
ties, especially along railroads. 

WISCONSIN, introduced probably previous to 1890 when first noticed; now found 
in widely separated parts of the state. 

INDIANA, first found in 1890; now occurring in at least three counties, being 
abundant in places at Illinois line near Lake Michigan. 

COLORADO, noticed in 1892 first; in 1894 reported from seventeen counties, being 
very abundant in places. 

KANSAS, in 1894 reported as occurring in six counties. 

MONTANA, reported by Dewey as having one infected locality in 1894. 

WYOMING, for 1894 given by Dewey as having two infected localities. 

IDAHO, reported by Dewey in 1894 as having the plant. 

92 BULLETIN NO. 39. 

CALIFORNIA, credited now with a single locality. 

MICHIGAN, in 1894 reported as having the plant in several localities. 

OHIO, first found in 1894 along a railroad in one county. 

NEW YORK, now reported by Dewey as having the plant. 

MANITOBA, reported as having the plant the past season as a new-comer. 

ONTARIO, given by Dewey as now possessing the plant in two localities. 

QUEBEC, now credited by Dewey with a single locality. 

The distribution of the plant is shown graphically by the map 
accompanying this bulletin. The map, which is by Mr. L. H. Dewey, 
has been revised by him for use here. 

Distribution in Illinois. The Russian thistle has existed in this 
state during a much longer period than has been supposed. Owing to the 
confusion of specimens occurring in the vicinity of Chicago with the 
saltwort of the Atlantic coast, the Russian thistle was not reported in 
this state until the summer of 1894. The ^ rst mention of the plant as 
such, so far as has been found, is that made by Professor L. H. Pam- 
mel in the Orange Judd Farmer of July 28, 1894, in which he calls 
attention to the finding of specimens at Turner by Mr. G. Carver. 
The plants were collected by Mr. Carver about June 2oth. On the 
I4th of August of the same summer the writer discovered about forty 
plants growing along the Chicago, Burlington & Northern Railroad at 
Polo, at which time the plants were reported as the first found in the 
state. Shortly after, specimens were received at this Experiment Station 
from St. Charles. All these collections, however, have been ante- 
dated by the collections from the lake shore region of Chicago, in- 
vestigation having proved that the plants there are the Russian thistle. 

The first mention of Salsola Kali, the saltwort, as occurring in 
Illinois is in the " Catalogue of Phaenogamous Plants of Evanston and 
Vicinity," published by C. S. Raddin in 1883. In the " Flora of Cook 
County," etc., published in 1891 by Professor Higley and Mr. Raddin, 
the same plant is spoken of as follows: " Frequent on the lake shore, 
near the University grounds, Evanston." As yet none of the speci- 
mens from Evanston have been critically examined to see if they were 
the true Russian thistle. The Evanston specimens do not seem to be 
very abundant at the present time, and there seem to be no specimens 
preserved in any herbarium, so that it cannot be definitely stated that 
they were Russian thistles. Concerning the presence of the plants there 
at the present time, Mr. Raddin writes: "Up to 1887-8 the plants 
were frequent on the lake shore about Evanston, but were not noticed 
inland. They had been found in this vicinity for a good many years, 
and very likely came in from the lake, as quite a good number of plants 
have done. For the last three or four years the plants have become in- 
frequent, and lately rare." Professor C. B. Atwell, of Evanston, also 
writes: "I am unable to learn, after considerable conversation with 
Dr. Marcy, that there is any authority whatever for saying that Salsola 
Kali is found upon the college campus or near it." During the summer 
of 1894 plants said to be the Russian thistle were noticed at Edgewater 


and Rogers Park, these places being a short distance south of Evanston. 

In the appendix to the Flora of Cook county, before mentioned, 
Mr. E. J. Hill is given as finding Salsola Kali at the ice-house near 
Wolf Lake within the limits of Chicago. It has lately been shown that 
these plants were the true Russian thistle, and that it was from this 
locality, or some near one, that most of the places in Chicago and north- 
ern Indiana have obtained their thistles. In a recent letter Mr. Hill 
writes: "I first saw the plant at Wolf Lake in August, 1890. The little 
patch was on a side-track of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was built 
for the use of ice-houses on the lake. As the boundary between Illinois 
and Indiana here crossed the track, I concluded that both states were 
represented in the plants. A month later I found some about ten miles 
east in Indiana along the main line of the railroad. I did not at the time 
consider them different from Salsola Kali, as published in the Manual, 
but a couple of years later, after the agitation about the Russian thistle 
became prominent, I looked the matter over and decided that they were 

It would seem, then, that August, 1890, was the first date on 
which plants now definitely known to be the Russian thistle were 
noticed in the state, the identity of the Evanston plants reported in 1883 
being as yet uncertain. 

At the present time the Russian thistle has been reported from 
twenty towns, located in thirteen counties, all in the northern part of 
the state. In some of these only a few plants were found, and in many 
of the places the plants discovered were all destroyed, so that next 
year, quite likely, plants may not be found at all of the places. In 
Chicago the weed has been found in over a dozen different localities. 
Undoubtedly the railroads have been the chief means of introduction, 
for it is along the tracks, especially of lines running to the north and 
west, that the plants have been found. With one or two exceptions, the 
plants have not as yet spread away from the railroads into the towns or 
the country. With the exception of some of those found in the vicinity 
of Chicago, the year 1894 seems to have been the first or second year 
of their introduction. In three towns plants have been reported as 

In the southeastern part of Chicago, in the vicinity of Wolf Lake, 
the plant seems to have taken its strongest hold. A.t the head of Wolf 
Lake, where the plant was first discovered in 1890 by Mr. Hill, its 
spread has been chiefly in Indiana. Mr. C. B. Shedd, of the Knicker- 
bocker Ice Company, upon whose land the plants are found, states that 
they did not attract his attention until he saw some tumbling about in 
January of 1894. In the fall of that year he found that there were 
several acres infested. An effort was made then to destroy them, and 
at one time a pile the size of a small house was gathered and burned. 
The land here is quite sandy, is low and wet in places, and has a poor 
sod. When visited by the writer in December, many small plants were 

94 BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

yet to be found, so that the task of eradicating the weed may be one of 
some years. It is believed that the plants were started here from seed 
that was carried in stock cars, such cars having been emptied of their 
contents along the side-track, where specimens were first found. West 
of this place, along the railroad, running from Colehour south and then 
east into Indiana, the plant is also abundant. Mr. Hill says of the 
thistle in this locality: "It is most abundant a little west of where I 
originally saw it. There is a good deal along this road, between Cole- 
hour and Hegewisch station. At this place it has got into the fields 
somewhat, but is mostly by the railway." In some of the counties of 
northern Indiana, in this vicinity, the plant has become quite abundant. 
At Turner, Du Page county, Mr. G. W. Carver, who found the 
plant there in June, 1894, reports that it was very abundant. It is said 
to have escaped along the streets at this place. 

In August of 1894, the writer, while looking for the plant at 
Savanna, Carroll county, found that the yards of the Chicago, Burling- 
ton & Northern Railroad, west of the town, were very badly infested. 
The plants were so crowded in most places that they were quite small. 
Some very large plants, however, were found. Some few plants were 
also found along the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, and 
southwest of the town plants were occasionally found on that road to 
Sabula, Iowa. The plant had not yet escaped from the railroads. 

In the following list are given all those localities in the state where 
it is known that this pest has been found. A few places have been re- 
ported as having the plant, when investigation proved that they did not- 
Undoubtedly there are other places in these northern counties where 
plants have been or may be found. It is desired that all such places be 
reported to the botanist of the Experiment Station, accompanied by a 
small piece of the plant. The list gives the locality, abundance of 
specimens, source of information, and collector, when known. 

CHICAGO, COOK Co., along side-track belonging to Knickerbocker Ice Co., south 
of n8th street near state line, spreading northeast along Wolf Lake, in Indiana At 
first a dozen or so plants, increasing to thousands in 1894. Collected in Ag., 1890; 
published in Flora, Cook County, 1891; in letter to G. P. Clinton, 20 N., 1894. Col- 
lected and reported by E. J. Hill, Englewood. 

Along branch Pennsylvania Railroad, from Colehour south and east into Indiana, 
spreading somewhat into fields. Very common, especially between noth street and 
Hegewisch. Collected in 1893; published in Bot. Gaz., 26 D.. 1894; in letter to G. P- 
Clinton, 20 N., 1894. Collected and reported by E. J. Hill, Englewood. 

Along L. S. & M. S. and P., Ft. W. & C. railways, from Englewood to state line, 
and along former as far east as Ohio. Plants scattered along the tracks. In letter to 
G. P. Clinton, u S., 1894. Reported by C. B. Shedd, Chicago. 

Along Pan Handle railroad, between West Pullman and the Calumet River. 
Considerable. In letter to G. P. Clinton, 20 N., 1894. Reported by E. J. Hill, 

On commons near Eggleston Station. Rather abundant. In letter to G. P. Clin- 
ton, 20 N., 1894. Reported by E. J. Hill, Englewood. 


Along switch-tracks of L. S. & M. S. Railway near Sixty-fifth street, Englewood. 
A few plants. Collected 10 O., 1891; in letter to 111. Agr. Exp. Sta., 1894. Reported 
by W. S. Moffatt, Chicago. 

At Sixty-third street and Oglesby avenue. Published in the Tribune, Chicago, 
30 Ag., 1894. Reported by W. K. Higley, Chicago. 

At Fifty-fifth street, between Cottage Grove and Greenwood avenues. Common 
along both sides of street. In letter to Bot. 111. Agr. Exp. Sta., 16 O., 1894. Re- 
ported by W. S. Moffatt, Chicago. 

Along tracks in Union Stock Yards. Two small plants. Collected 30 Ag., 1894; 
reported in the Inter Ocean, Chicago, 138, 1894. Collected and reported by G. P. 
Clinton, Urbana. 

Brighton Park, near Belt Line Railroad. A few plants. Collected 19 S., 1891; 
in letter to Bot. 111. Agr. Exp. Sta., 16 O., 1894. Collected and reported by W. S. 
Moffatt, Chicago. 

At foot of Ontario street. In letter to Bot. 111. Agr. Exp. Sta., 29 Ag., 1894. 
Reported by W. S. Moffatt, Chicago. 

At Indiana street dump, on Lake Michigan. Published in the Tribune, Chicago, 
30 Ag., 1894. Reported by E. J. Hill, Englewood. 

Shore of Lake Michigan, south of Marine Hospital. In letter to Bot. 111. Agr. 
Exp Sta., 16 O., 1894. Reported by W. S. Moffatt, Chicago. 

Edgewater, along lake shore. In letter to G P. Clinton, n Mr., 1895. Re- 
ported by C. S. Raddin, Evanston. 

Rogers Park. In letter to G. P. Clinton, u Mr., '95. Reported by C. S. Rad- 
din, Evanston. 

DAVIS JUNCTION, OGLE Co., along main and side-tracks of C., B. & Q. Railroad. 
In letter to G. E. Morrow, 24 Ag., 1894; published by G. E. Morrow, in the Breed- 
ers' Gazette. 29 Ag. Reported by F. M. Worcester, Davis Junction. 

EAST DUBUQUE, Jo DAVIESS Co., two and one-half miles north of town, on C., 
B. & N. Railroad. Two bunches. In letter to G. P. Clinton, 7 Mr., 1895. Re- 
ported by C. H. Harris, East Dubuque. 

EVANSTON, COOK Co., on lake shore, near Northwestern Univ.; also south of 
town in 1894. At first frequent, now rare. Reported in List of Plants of Evanston 
and Vicinity, 1883; in Flora, Cook County, 1891; in letters to G. P. Clinton. Re- 
ported by C. S. Raddin, Evanston. 

GURNEE, LAKE Co., in Stock Yards. Three plants. In letter to S. A. Forbes, 
i O., 1894. Reported by G. H. Stafford, Gurnee. 

HAMPSHIRE, KANE Co., along C., M. & St. P. Railway. At first one plant, after- 
ward others found within six miles of town. Collected 19 Ag., 1894; in letter to 
G. E. Morrow, 20 Ag. ; published by G. E. Morrow in the Breeders' Gazette, 29 Ag. 
Reported by M. E. Howe, later by E. E. Rich, Hampshire. 

MORRISON, WHITESIDE Co., along C. & N.W. Railway. At first two, later other 
specimens found. Published in the Breeders' Gazette, 19 S., 1894; in letter to G. P. 
Clinton, 24 S. Reported by E. W. Payne, Morrison. 

NACHUSA, LEE Co., on C. & N. W. Railway. One plant. In letter to G. E. 
Morrow, 21 Ag., 1894; published by G. E. Morrow in the Breeders' Gazette, 29 Ag. 
Reported by Ira Raff, Nachusa. 

NEW LEBANON, DE KALB Co., on C., M. & St. P. Railway. One plant. In 
letter to G. E. Morrow, 14 S., 1894. Reported by Vangalder and Boies, Sycamore. 

OREGON, OGLE Co., east of depot C., B. & N. Railroad. Two small plants. Col- 
lected Ag., 1894; reported in Ogle Co. Press, Polo, i S. Collected and reported by 
G. P. Clinton, Urbana. 

OTTAWA, LA SALLE Co., near glass works on switch connecting with C., R. I & P. 
and C., B. & Q. railways. Forty plants. In letter to T. J. Burrill, 27 S., 1894. 
Reported by J. W. Huett. 

96 BULLETIN NO. 39. 

PEOTONE, WILL Co., along I. C. Railroad. Several plants. In letter to G. E. 
Morrow, 22 Ag., 1894; published by G. E. Morrow in the Breeders' Gazette, 29 Ag. 
Reported by J. J. McMahon, Peotone. 

POLO, OGLE Co., near depot C., B. & N. Railroad. Forty plants, mostly small. 
Collected 14 Ag., 1894; reported in Ogle Co. Press, Polo, 18 Ag. Collected and re- 
ported by G. P. Clinton, Urbana. 

ROCKFORD, WINNEBAGO Co., in C., M. & St. P. freight yards. One plant only 
mentioned. In letter to G. E. Morrow, 28 S, 1894. Reported by Dugald Clark, 

ROCKTON, WINNEBAGO Co., in gravel pit on railway near town. Large number 
of plants. First noticed during season of 1894; letter to G. P. Clinton, Mr. 1895. ^- e ~ 
ported by W. W. Austin, Rockton. 

ROSECRANS, LAKE Co., a few miles from C., M. & S"t. P. Railway. Several speci- 
mens. In letter to S. A. Forbes, i O., 1894. Reported by G. H. Stafford. Gurnee. 

SAVANNA, CARROLL Co., south yards of C., B. & N. Railroad; also along C., M. 
& St. P. Railway southwest to Sabula, Iowa. Along C., B. & N. very abundant. 
Collected 28 Au., 1894; reported in Ogle Co. Press, Polo, i S. Collected and 
reported by G. P. Clinton, Urbana. 

ST. CHARLES, KANE Co., in rear of iron foundry, on a pile of refuse along river 
bank. About a dozen plants. In letter to G. E. Morrow, 17 Ag., 1894; published 
by G. E. Morrow in the Daily Gazette, Champaign, 18 Ag. Reported by E. C. Cook, 
St. Charles. 

TURNER Du PAGE Co., in streets and along railroad. Very numerous. Reported 
by L. H. Pammel in the Orange Judd Farmer, 28 Jl., 1894; in letter to G. P. Clinton, 
collected Je. 20, by George Carver, Ames, Iowa. 

WADSWORTH, LAKE Co., one mile north of station. Several plants. In letter to 
G. P. Clinton, 16 O., 1894. Reported by G. H. Stafford, Gurnee. 

WAUKEGAN, LAKE Co., along C. & N. W. yards. Fifty or more plants, mostly 
small. In letter to Exp. Sta. 21 S., 1894. Reported by L. O. Mattheias, Waukegan. 

Besides the preceding, the following towns have been reported as having the 
plant, but as insufficient information was bad concerning the positive identification 
of the plant, they are merely mentioned here. The places are as follows: Forreston, 
North Forreston, Ogle Co.; DeKalb, DeKalb Co.; Warren, Jo Daviess Co. ; LaFox, 
Kane Co. 


Injurious. Weeds are always a bad thing for the agriculturalist. 
Although there has been a great variety of opinions expressed as to the 
degree of damage caused by the Russian thistle, there can be no doubt 
that in general it is a thoroughly bad weed. In fact, in some localities 
it has already caused more mischief than any other weed occurring in 
the United States. It remains, however, to be seen whether this pest 
shall become as prominent a nuisance in all the localities to which it has 
spread as it is in the Dakotas. As different seasons seem to have some 
effect on its prominence as a weed-pest, so it seems highly probable 
that the widely differing environments of the various states and locali- 
ties to which it has spread will also greatly affect it. However, there is 
no doubt as to its being a costly intruder in many localities, and it must 
be met everywhere, for the present, with the assumption that it may 
prove harmful. 

No other weed has caused such widespread discussion, or been the 
subject of such general fear. National aid was asked to help in its 


eradication. In North Dakota a state meeting was called by the Gov- 
ernor at La Moure to consider the subject of fighting the pest, and in 
January of the present year an interstate conference was held at St. 
Paul for a similar purpose. Mr. L. H. Dewey, of the Division of 
Botany, Washington, who has made the most careful study of the plant 
in this country, estimated that the damage it caused during 1892 was 
more than two million dollars, while in 1893 the loss must have been 

The following in regard to the loss caused by the plant in North 
Dakota is taken from the report of the Cactus Committee appointed in 
that state for 1893. "Reliable estimates from the counties infested 
although somewhat incomplete, as some localities where damage 
occurred were not reported, at the prevailing low prices of farm prod- 
ucts, would indicate a direct crop loss of more than one million dollars 
for the year 1893 alone. The crop loss in Dickey county is estimated 
at twenty per cent.; La Moure, twenty per cent.; Mclntosh, twenty 
per cent.; while Richland county reports about 30,000 acres infested 
with cacti, with a crop loss on this land of fifteen per cent. Much of 
the land in the worst cacti districts was not plowed last fall because of 
the mechanical obstruction to machinery presented by the weeds." 

The reason that the Russian thistle assumes such importance as a 
pest is due to the fact that it has much worse features than most weeds, 
which merely rob the soil of its nourishment. To a prominent degree 
it possesses the power of crowding out other plants, especially in the 
case of plants growing on broken land. Another very objectionable 
feature possessed by the plant in its spiny leaves, which render harvest- 
ing infested crops exceedingly difficult. Stock may become injured by 
coming in contact with mature plants. In the northwest the character 
of the country and the rolling habit of the plant offer it as a means for 
spreading prairie fires. 

Beneficial. It seems rather paradoxical to speak of such a plant as 
possessing beneficial qualities. As a grazing plant, however, the weed 
seems to possess some qualities which adapt it for such purposes in very 
dry regions. In regard to its value in this direction, a writer in a num- 
ber of the Sheep Breeder said : " Our farm joins a thriving little town 
of about one thousand people. Now, if I should employ every able- 
bodied man and boy that could use a hoe and set them to work on our 
farm to destroy these thistles, I should have to hire them by the year, 
and then would fail. We do not look upon the Russian thistle as some 
do. It is one of the very best forage plants known, and certainly is 
one of the best in Dakota, for when so dry that nothing else will grow, 
then the thistle grows the quickest, and one acre of Russian thistles will 
produce more feed than two acres of clover. Our experience teaches 
us this, for we have kept seventy-five large thoroughbred Shopshire and 
Delaine rams on less than twenty acres this season, and kept them in 
fine condition." 

98 BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

While the plant may be valuable for grazing when young, one 
would not think of raising it for such purpose, but rather to pasture 
sheep upon it to clear the land and incidentally get out of the thistle 
what value it may have as a grazing plant. Recent chemical analyses 
made at the Experiment Stations of Iowa and- Minnesota show that the 
plant during its younger stages really is rather valuable for grazing 
purposes ? but that as it grows older its value materially lessens. The 
draft made by it on the soil is also shown to be rather severe. 

In Illinois. Since the plant has been found in our state at such a 
number of places, the question naturally arises, "What may we expect 
of it here?" The fact that the plant during the five or so years that it 
has occurred in southeast Chicago has been steadily gaining in 
prominence shows that it can find places in the state favorable for de- 
velopment. However, there are so many conditions in this state differ- 
ent from those of Dakota that they must be taken into account in our 
estimate of its probable development as a weed pest. 

In the first place, then, although the railroads may serve as a 
favorable means for wide dissemination, the fenced condition of most of 
our land and the less boisterous winds are against a rapid general in- 
vasion of the country. A second condition against its spread is the 
greater amount of land under cultivation here and the better cultivation 
of such as is used. The more moist seasons may also be somewhat 
against the plant, as it is said to develop much more rapidly in dry 
climates. The raising of crops requiring cultivation and the compara- 
tively small amount of land in wheat and flax, which are said to be those 
most injured, are also points against its inflicting great loss. Lastly, the 
fact that very little plowed land is allowed to go to waste will be against 
the plants gaining strong foothold. 


Necessity. Although we may not expect the plant to play the 
prominent part in the agriculture of this state that it has in some others, 
still it is wise to be on our guard against possible injury. The only way 
to keep the plant from doing possible damage is to prevent it from gain- 
ing general distribution. Although it has been reported from a number 
of localities and may be expected in others, we are now in a condition to 
prevent it from spreading. 

Responsible parties. Doubtless for some time the railroads will 
be the chief ones to look after the extermination of the plants. With 
this idea in view, last year the Experiment Station sent to the roads in 
northern Illinois notice of the appearance of the plant in the state, 
together with a general description for aid in recognizing it. As a 
rule, the railroads seem willing to aid in preventing its further spread. 
Greater care should be given to keeping the right of way free from all 
weeds. Section men should become acquainted with the plant, so that 
they can easily distinguish it from our tumbleweed. The yards of the 


railroads should be carefully watched, as plants are most apt to make 
their appearance there. More care on the part of our towns in keeping 
down the weeds of roads and of waste places will also be a paying 
investment in more ways than this. Lastly, the owner of any land 
owes it to himself and his neigborhood to destroy any such troublesome 

Methods. Various methods have been suggested for dealing with 
the plant, according to the locality from which it is reported. In most 
places in this state, however, the Russian thistle has not become so 
abundant but that the best means for destroying it is to pull up the 
plants when young, and when old to cut them down and burn them. 
Where plants are abundant frequent mowings, if necessary, should be 
given. In some cases more elaborate treatment might be found essen- 
tial for success. As importation of seed grain, etc., from localities hav- 
ing the pest is a frequent method of spreading the plant, farmers should 
be careful to know the origin and condition of such seed. 


Lack of information. The appearance of the Russian thistle in 
Illinois has aroused an interest, perhaps somewhat temporary, in the 
weeds of the state. Through lack of information some of our most 
common species have been mistaken for this pest. The rinding of any 
new-comer in the weed line has also been received with apprehension 
lest it be the dreaded foe. The Experiment Station has consequently 
received an unusually large number of plants for determination, most 
of which have been sent to see if they were the Russian thistle. In 
some way the term "thistle" has made such an impression on the people 
that any unknown plant possessing prickles on any part of it is very apt 
to be regarded as this intruder. As a consequence most of the plants 
received were such as were provided with some sort of spines. In this 
state there really are no plants that upon ordinary examination should 
be mistaken for the Russian thistle. As they are seen growing or 
tumbling about at a distance, there are, however, two weeds that bear 
some resemblance to the plant. In the following paragraphs some of 
these mistaken forms are briefly described, while somewhat of an idea 
of their general features may be obtained from the illustrations at the 
end of this bulletin. 

Cycloloma atriplicifolium (Spreng.) Coulter. Winged pigweed. 
This plant occurs in the United States chiefly on the plains west of the 
Mississippi river. It is reported as native in western Illinois, and is now 
found chiefly in the western and northern part of the state. At most of 
the localities from which it has been reported, it is not found to be a 
common plant, and perhaps in such cases has been introduced. It is the 
only one of the plants here described that belongs to the same family as 
the Russian thistle, the goosefoot family. The plant is much branched, 
and grows from six to eighteen inches in height. The leaf is easily 

100 BULLETIN NO. 39. [Apr it, 

told from that of the Russian thistle, being of the ordinary flat type 
with more or less coarsely toothed margins. The numerous flowers are 
small, incomplete, and are scattered along the branches. In the fall by 
the twisting and breaking of the root, the weed may become freed from 
the soil; it is then carried by the wind rolling over the ground, so it is 
sometimes called a " tumbleweed." The plant is an annual, and in this 
state is not common or injurious enough to be considered one of the 
obnoxious species. 

Amaranthus albus L. Tumbleweed. A common weed usually 
found in waste places or on plowed land is the tumbleweed. This plant 
occurs scattered not only over the state but now makes no claim to any 
special part of the United States. It is one of our native weeds that 
has spread over the country probably from the western plains. This 
tumbleweed belongs to the amaranth family, which is closely related to 
the goosefoot family. The common pigweed of the gardens is one of 
its near relatives. It has the low bushy appearance of the Russian 
thistle, and so is the plant most frequently mistaken for it. Its leaves, 
however, serve as an easy means for distinguishing it from that plant. 
They are flat, rounded at the end, and gradually taper to a petiole at 
their base. The flowers are very small and rudimentary, being crowded 
in small clusters in the axils of the leaves. The seed is a small, lens- 
shaped, shining black body. This weed is also an annual, and while 
more common than the winged pigweed is not classed with our worst 

Amaranthus spinosus L. Thorny amaranth. It is said that this 
plant was introduced into the United States from tropical America, and 
now occurs scattered through the eastern half of the country. It has 
long been known as a resident of this state, and has been reported from 
a number of localities, though apparently it is not a common plant. As 
is indicated by its scientific name, it belongs to the same genus as the 
common tumbleweed. The plant is bushy and grows from one to three 
feet in height. Its leaves, which are broadest at the base, have rather 
long petioles. In the axils of these leaves are found two or more well 
developed spines. The spines form a means for easily determining the 
plant. The inconspicuous flowers form long sterile clusters at the end 
of the branches, and shorter, more compact fertile ones in the axils of 
the leaves. The plant has been feared by some as likely to prove an 
injurious weed, though as yet it can scarcely be called such. 

Solanum Carolinense L. Horse-nettle. The plant bearing this 
name is a native of the state, and is found in the United States chiefly 
east of the Mississippi river. It usually occurs in sandy or dry waste 
places. From its general appearance one would scarcely believe that it 
is a very close relative of the potato, yet an examination of the floral 
parts shows many points of resemblance. The plants generally grow 
from one to one and a half feet high and are more or less covered with 
short coarse hairs. The leaves, which are comparatively large, are 


usually lobed in a somewhat angular manner. The striking feature of 
the plant is the strong yellow prickles found on the stems and ribs of 
the leaves. When in fruit the small yellow berries in a way resemble 
tomatoes, which are also botanically related to the horse-nettle. The 
perennial nature of the plant, together with its prickles, cause it in some 
places in the state (Gibson, Ford county) to become quite obnoxious, 
though it is not frequent enough to be so considered in most localities. 
It is said that in Delaware the plant has taken hold of some fields with 
such vigor that they have been abandoned temporarily. 

Solatium rostratum Dunal. Sand-bur. The native home of this 
plant is the plains of the west. For years, however, it has gradually 
been working its way eastward. Its first appearance in this state seems 
to have been in Adams county, specimens having been collected on 
waste ground at Camp Point in August of 1878. It has since been re- 
ported from a number of widely separated localities, and at one place 
near Eagle Point, Ogle county, has taken possession of several acres of 
land. Like the horse-nettle, the sand-bur belongs to the nightshade 
family. It forms a branched plant one or two feet high, and presents 
a striking appearance because of the stout yellow prickles which densely 
cover the stems, leaves, and fruit. The flowers are yellow, about an 
inch in diameter, and at maturity produce numerous seeds. It is one of 
our annual plants. Before the introduction of the potato in the west, 
the sand-bur is said to have formed the chief food of the potato-bugs 
there. Although as yet the plant has not caused much trouble here, it 
is one to be regarded as quite undesirable because of the liberal manner 
in which nature has armed it. 

Carduus arvensis (L.) Robs. Canada thistle. This plant was 
introduced into the United States from Europe, by the way of Canada, 
probably during the latter part of the last century. It has riow become 
rather widely distributed over the northeastern part of the country. In 
Illinois it was reported as early as 1859 by ^ r - Vasey, though probably 
introduced some years previous to that date. In 1867 the first laws 
concerning it were passed by the legislature. In his catalogue of plants 
of Illinois, published in 1876, Mr. H. N. Patterson gives the following 
note on the distribution of the plant: "Along the railroads about Chi- 
cago, Babcock, Vasey; in one locality near Peoria, Brendel; Fulton 
county, Wolf. v Fortunately rare as yet. Since the enactment of the 
Canada thistle law most of the other species have suffered at the hands 
of the commissioners, especially lanceolatum." At the present time the 
plant is found in quite a number of localities and, especially in the 
vicinity of Chicago, is quite abundant. It seems to be introduced along 
railroads most commonly. The Canada thistle belongs to the compo- 
site family of plants, and has our very common bull-thistle as one of 
its near relatives. Though usually one or two feet high, it sometimes 
attains a height of three or four feet. It is frequently confused with 
the bull-thistle, from which it can be told by the leaves, which are 

IO2 BULLETIN NO. 39. \April, 

thinner, more crinkled and without the rough hairs on their upper 
sides, and are not decurrent. The floral heads are also much 
smaller and surrounded at their bases by rows of scales not tipped with 
the long prickles of the bull thistle. Like it, however, the margins of 
the leaves are well provided with prickles. On account of the ease 
with which the seeds are distributed by the wind and the extensive 
spreading of the perennial underground parts, the plant is one of the 
most difficult to eradicate that has yet made its appearance in this coun- 
try. In this state, while the pest is bad enough in places, it is not so 
injurious as it might be, because of the failure of most plants to produce 
any seed. All means for eradicating the plant must be aimed at the 
destruction of the perennial underground parts. There are yet on our 
statute books rather elaborate though apparently much neglected laws 
concerning the control of the plant. 

Lactuca Scariola L. Prickly lettuce. Perhaps no plant has 
attracted more attention by its apparently very rapid spread than has 
this during the past two or three years. It is said that the plant was 
introduced into this country from Europe, the first specimen being 
found at Cambridge, Mass., in 1863, In this state, while to many it 
appears as a new weed, it has been observed in several localities for a 
number of years. Dr. W. S. Moffatt in a letter states that he has known 
the plant to occur in the vicinity of Chicago for at least fifteen years, 
and as early as 1879 P^ ants were collected at Rockford by Mr. M. S. 
Bebb. At the present time the plant is one of the most common in 
waste places. It belongs to the composite family, and is thought by 
some to be a wild form of cultivated lettuce to which at least it bears 
very close relationship. The seeds begin to germinate either in the fall 
or early spring, and at first form a circle of leaves spreading flat on the 
ground. Eventually from the center of these arises a single erect stem 
two to six feet high. The oblong leaves are attached directly to the 
stem by a somewhat clasping base, and are peculiar in that they are 
generally twisted at the base so that the margins are directed up and 
down. Toward the base of the stem and on the normally lower side of 
the leaves along the ribs are found coarse prickles, which are also means 
for identifying the plants. The small yellow flowers are borne in 
numerous heads on the branches, and at maturity produce a bountiful 
supply of seeds, which are provided with a little tuft of hairs to aid in 
their dissemination by the wind. Mowing plants instead of killing them 
usually results in several stems being sent up to take the place of the one 
destroyed. It is said that cutting off the plants beneath the ground is 
sometimes a means for destroying them. 


Aim and use. Upon the statute books of a number of states are 
laws directed against their weeds. In most cases these are enacted 
against the most prominent pe^ts only, which are usually mentioned by 


name. In North and South Dakota and Iowa the Russian thistle has 
been the subject of special attention in such laws. In Minnesota and 
Illinois bills against this plant have also been introduced in their legis- 
latures, and it seems probable that they will soon become laws. 
Whether or not the laws as they have been made and enforced in most 
states are a very valuable aid in keeping down weeds is an open ques- 
tion. When they are enacted, however, they should be as short and 
simple as possible; they should be flexible enough to provide against 
the variable place as a pest that any weed may assume; they should be 
general enough to include any form that may suddenly become 

In Illinois. At present there are in this state laws that provide 
against the Canada thistle and the cocklebur. The Canada thistle law 
is quite cumbersome, and at present apparently not much use is made of 
it. This law was approved in March, 1872, and was amended in June, 
1885. A further amendment to include the Russian thistle in the act is 
now under consideration by the legislature, having been introduced by 
Senator David Hunter. The proposed amendment changes the present 
law by the insertion of the words " and Russian " between the words 
" Canada thistles " where they occur in the different sectiofft of the law. 
As this amendment has already passed the senate, and is said to be 
favorably considered by the house, the law with the proposed amend- 
ments inserted is given here in full. 

AN ACT concerning Canada and Russian Thistles. 

SECTION i . Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois represented in the 
General Assembly: That there may be appointed by the board of town auditors in 
counties under township organization, and by the county commissioners in counties 
not under township organization, for each township or election precinct, and by the 
city council of any city, or by the president and trustees of any town or village, as the 
case may be, some competent person, to be styled "Commissioner of Canada and 
Russian Thistles," who shall take the oath required of township or precinct officers, 
and shall hold his office for the term of three years, and until his successor is appointed 
and qualified, and he shall receive for his compensation the sum of two dollars a day, 
for each full day necessarily spent in the performance of his duty, to be verified by 
affidavit. The board of appointment may at any time, for good cause, remove the 
commissioner from office, and appoint his successor, to serve the remaining portion 
of his time. 

SECTION 2. The commissioner of Canada and Russian thistles shall diligently 
inquire concerning the introduction and existence of Canada and Russian thistles in 
his township or precinct, and if any are found growing therein he shall take charge of 
all such growing in the highway and on uninclosed lands, and take care that they do 
not go to seed, or otherwise spread; and he shall carefully seek and learn, so far as 
practicable, the best methods for their destruction, and he shall persistently apply, in 
proper time, such remedy or treatment as he shall deem best calculated to prevent 
their spread and to eradicate the same. 

SECTION 3. In case said thistles are found growing on inclosed lands, the com- 
missioner shall advise with the owner, agent or occupant on their treatment, and if 
the said commissioner shall deem it necessary and expedient for him to fully control 
the same, he shall agree with the owner, agent or occupant on the boundaries of the 
tract so infected, which it is expedient for him to control, and he shall mark the same 

104 BULLETIN NO. 39. \April, 

by stakes, or fence if thought best; and thereafter such infected tract, or so much as 
from time to time remains infected shall be managed and controlled by the said com- 
missioner, for the purpose of destroying said thistles, and so long as it may be neces- 
sary to complete the work. In case the commissioner and the owner, agent or 
occupant of said land cannot agree as regards the propriety of the commissioner 
controlling such tract or the boundaries of the same, then the commissioner shall 
proceed to stake out or mark such boundaries as he deems proper, and file a copy of 
his decision with the town clerk, or, in counties not under township organization, 
with the county clerk. The owner, agent or occupant of the land may, if he feels 
aggrieved, appeal from such decision of the commissioner, without bonds, within 
twenty days, to the commissioners of highways of the town, or to the county commis- 
sioners, as the case may be, who shall proceed to view the same, and to hear the 
reasons for and against the decision of the commissioner, and a majority of such 
board of appeal shall decide as to the propriety of taking possession of the tract 
alleged to be infected, and if they decide to take such possession, what shall consti- 
tute the boundaries of the same, and shall direct said commissioner to exterminate 
said thistles (which are hereby declared a public nuisance) without unnecessarily 
def riving the owner of the land of any legitimate use and enjoyment of the sane; 
and the owner or occupant of said land shall pay all cost and expense of labor for 
said extermination, which shall not exceed the sum of one hundred dollars for each 
infected tract in one year, without the consent of the supervisor of said town, or 
county commissioners, as the case may be, and that the sum so expended shall be a 
lien upon said tract so infected; and if the owner or occupant shall not pay the same 
to said commissioner on or before the first Monday of September of the year the work 
was performed by the commissioner on said tract, the commissioner shall report the 
same to the board of town auditors, in towns under township organization, or county 
commissioners, as the case may be, and certify to the same, and that said board of 
town auditors or county commissioners shall certify to the county clerk the amount 
so due on each tract; and it shall be the duty of the county clerk to cause the amount 
so returned to be levied on the lands as certified by said board of auditors or commis- 
sioners, as the case may be, and that said amount so certified shall be collected in the 
same manner that taxes of the county are levied and collected, and the same, when 
collected, to be paid over to the supervisor of the town or towns under township 
organization, and to the county commissioner, as the case may be, who shall pay the 
same out on the order of the commissioner to the parties entitled to the same, for the 
labor employed in destroying the thistles on each tract for which the money was 

SECTION 4. The commissioner shall apply the best known means, and use the 
utmost diligence, in eradicating the thistles; but he shall not have power to expend in 
work or materials more than one hundred dollars on any one infected tract, without 
the advice and consent, in writing, of the supervisor of the town, or of the county 
commissioners, as the case may be. 

SECTION 5. It shall be the duty of the commissioner to prosecute or complain to 
the proper authorities of any person or corporation who may violate any law now 
existing, or which may hereafter be passed, on the subject of Canada and Russian 

SECTION 6. The commissioner shall, annually, before the first day of November, 
make a written report to the supervisor of the town, or to the county commissioners, 
as the case may be which report shall be filed with the town clerk, or in counties not 
under township organization, with the county clerk. The report made to the super- 
visor shall be publicly read at the annual town meeting. Said report shall state 

First Whether there are or not any Canada or Russian thistles growing in the 
town or precinct. 

Second If any are growing, where and how many, and when and how intro- 


Third A detailed statement of his treatment of each infected tract, with cost 
and result. 

Fourth He shall report such other matters as may be required of him by the 
board of town auditors, or by the county commissioners. 

Fifth He shall state bis views on their further treatment, and make such sug- 
gestions and recommendations as he may deem proper and useful. 

And he shall also forward a copy of said report to the secretary of the State 
Board of Agriculture, who shall collate and report the same to the governor by the 
first day of December of each year. 

SECTION 7. The board of town auditors, and the county commissioners in coun- 
ties not under township organization, shall audit the accounts of the commissioner, 
both for his services and for the money expended or labor employed by him; and they 
shall provide for their payment as they now do for other town or county expenses. 

SECTION 8. The boards of supervisors and county commissioners may make 
appropriations from the county treasury to aid in destroying the Canada and Russian 
thistle in any one or more towns or precincts of the county; and in case they deem it 
expedient, they may assume control over any one tract or of all the Canada and Rus- 
sian thistles in the county, and make such provision as they may deem necessary, 
and impose penalties, not exceeding $100 for each offense, for a violation of any 
provisions, by-laws or regulations made by them on this subject, to be sued for by 
the commissioner, in the name and for the use of the proper county, before any 
justice of the peace having jurisdiction. Whenever the board of supervisors or 
county commissioners shall decide to assume control, and so long as they exercise it, 
their jurisdiction shall be superior to that of the commissioner. 

SECTION 8)4- And it is hereby made the duty of county boards in counties 
under township organization, where town auditors have failed or refused to appoint a 
commissioner of Canada and Russian thistles, upon the petition of twenty-five 
land owners, of said town or adjoining town or towns, stating the failure of said 
board of auditors to appoint a commissioner for said town, and of the necessity for 
the same; to appoint a commissioner for said town (who shall be a resident of said 
town), who shall hold his office for the same length of time as if appointed by the 
board of auditors, and shall receive the same compensation, and said compensation 
shall be audited and allowed, and paid by the township for which he was appointed, 
the same as if he had been appointed by the board of auditors of said town; and his 
duties shall be the same, and the board of town auditors or county board may 
appoint so many assistant commissioners as they may deem necessary to thoroughly 
perform the duties in any town, which assistants shall receive the same compensa- 
tion for like services as the commissioner, and whose duties shall be the same, and 
the commissioner of Canada and Russian thistles or assistants refusing or neglecting 
to perform their respective duties shall be fined in a sum not less than ten dollars nor 
more than one hundred dollars for each offense, such fine to be sued for in any court 
of competent jurisdiction in the name of the town on complaint of any land owner 
of the town; said fine when collected to be paid to the supervisor or county commis- 
sioner and become a part of the town or precinct fund. 

SECTION 9. Whereas, Canada and Russian thistles are now growing in various 
parts of the state, requiring attention before the first day of July, therefore an 
emergency exists, and this act shall take effect and be in force from and after its 


Free use has been made of the following references in the prepara- 
tion of this bulletin. The list contains data concerning most of the im- 
portant articles published in North America on this subject. As a rule 
no attempt has been made to include the numerous articles appearing 

IO6 BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

in our various news and agricultural papers. Newspaper notices re- 
garding the introduction of the plant in different localities of the state, 
however, have been given as far as known. 

ARTHUR, J. C. Wild or Prickly Lettuce. Bull. Ind. Agr. Exp. Sta. 52: 83-85. 
pi. 4. N. 1894. 

Notes appearance of Russian thistle in northern Indiana. 

BERGEN, F. D. Popular American Plant-names. III. Bot. Gaz. 19: 437. 16 
N. 1894. 

Gives two common names of Salsola Kali Tragus. 

BESSEY, C. E. Russian Thistle. Ann. Rep. Neb. State Bd. Agr. 1892: 209. 
f. jt. 1893. (Reprinted in Contributions Bot. Dep. Uni. Neb. N. S. 5: 209. f. J. 27 
Je. 1893.) 

Makes notes on this plant as a weed of Nebraska. 

BESSEY, C. E. The so-called "Russian Thistle." Am. Nat. 28: 427-430. pi. 
10. My. 1894. 

Gives a general account of the plant and its distribution. 

BESSEY, C. E. The Weeds of Nebraska. Ann. Rep. Neb. State Bd. Agr. 
1891: 123-124. 1892. 

Gives botanical description with note on occurrence of Russian thistle. 

BESSEY, C. E. The Russian Thistle in Nebraska. Bull. Neb. Agr. Exp. Sta. 
31: 67-77. pt- *-5- 20 D. 1893. [map.] (Revised reprint in Ann. Rep. Neb. State Bd. 
Agr. 1893: 83-94. 1894. Extracted revised reprint ,in Contributions Bot. Dep. Uni. 
Neb. N. S. 8: 83-94. 27 My. 1894.) 

Presents a general treatment of the plant. 

BESSEY, C. E. Weeds of Nebraska. Ann. Rep. Neb. Agr. Exp. Sta. 7: 11-12. 

Notes distribution of Russian thistle in that state. 

BOLLEY, H. L. Russian Cactus. Press Bull. N. Dak. Agr. Exp. Sta. i. O. 

Presents notes on distribution of the plant in that state, together with methods 
for preventing its further spread. 

BUDD, J. L. The Russian Thistle in its Natal Home. Bull. la. Agr. Exp. Sta 
26: 30-33. 1894. 

Gives an account of the plant as seen by the writer during a visit to Russia in 

CLINTON, G. P. New Localities. Bot. Gaz. 19: 415. 17 O. 1894. 

Notes some localities of Russian thistle in Illinois. 

CLINTON, G. P. Russian Thistle. Ogle County Press, Polo, 111. 18 Ag. 1894. 

Reports the plant as occurring at Polo. 

CLINTON, G. P. The Russian Thistle. The Daily Inter-Ocean, Chicago, 111. 
13 S. 1894. 

Gives a general account of the plant, with list of infested localities known in 

COULTER, J. M. Salsola Kali Tragus (L.) Moq. Mem. Torr. Bot. Club. 5: 
144. 27 Ap. 1894. [Sig. 10] (Reprinted in List of Peteridophyta and Spermatophyta 
growing without Cultivation in Northeastern N. Amer. : 144.) 

Lists this variety. 

COVILLE, F. V. Russian Thistle. Rep. Sec. Agr. 1893: 243. 1894. 

Notes damage caused by this plant and its distribution. 

CRAIG, M. Five Farmers' Foes. Bull. Or. Agr. Exp. Sta. 32: 113-116. pi. 
N. 1894. 

Contains a short description of the Russian thistle. 


CRANDALL. C. S. The Russian Thistle. Bull. Colo. Agr. Exp. Sta. 28: 1-12. 
/. i, 2. pi. 1-4. S. 1894. 

Presents a general account of the plant and of its occurernce in Colorado. 

DEWEY, L. H. Difference between the Common Saltwort and the Russian 
Thistle. Bot. Gaz. 18: 275. Jl. 1893. 

Gives De Candolle's original description of the Russian thistle, and adds other 
characters useful in distinguishing it from the saltwort. 

DEWEY, L. H. Index to Papers on the Russian Thistle. The Grange Visitor, 
Mich. 15 N. 1894. 

Gives a list of twenty-five papers published in N. Amer. on the subject. 

DEWEY, L. H. The Russian Thistle, and Other Troublesome Weeds in the 
Wheat Region of Minnesota ancl North and South Dakota. Farmers' Bull. U. S. 
Dep. Agr. 10: i-ib. //. /, 2. Ap. ,1893. (Abstracted in Rep. Sec. Agr. 1892: 
213, 214. pi. 9. 1893.) 

Presents one of the first important papers published in this country on the plant 

DEWEY, L. H. The Russian Thistle, its History as a Weed in the United States, 
with an Account of the Means available for its Eradication. Bull. U. S. Dep. Agr. 
Div. Bot. 15: 1-26 //. 1-3. 1894. [Maps.] 

Presents a very thorough treatment of the subject. 

DEWEY, L. H. The Russian Thistle. Pamphlet, U. S. Dep. Agr. Div. Bot.: 
1-8. /. 1-3. Ja. 1895. 

Gives a general account of the plant, including its present distribution in N. 

DRURY, E. Noxious Weeds of Manitoba and how to destroy them. Special 
Bull. Manitoba Dep. Agr. Immi: 11-12. 1894. 

Gives note on Russian thistle. 

EDITOR THE NOR'-WEST FARMER. The Russian Thistle. The Nor'- West Farmer, 
13: 33L 332. D. 1893. 

Treats of distribution of Russian thistle, etc. 

EDITOR THE NOR'-WEST FARMER. A Dangerous Weed. The Nor' -West Farmer. 
II: 238. S. 1892. [Illust.] 

Treats of the Russian thistle. 

EDITORS CENTURY DICTIONARY. Salsola. The Century Dictionary, 5: 5317. 

Notes Salsola Kali, so-called there, as occurring sparingly inland in the United 

EDITORS NEB. BOT. SEMINAR. Additions to the Reported Flora of Nebraska 
Made during 1893. Rep. Bot. Surv. Neb. 1893: 16. 18 Je. 1894. 

Correct name Salsola Kali to Salsola Kali Tragus. 

ELDER, J., RUTHERFORD, J. G., and GREIG, G. H. Noxious Weeds of Manitoba 
and how to destroy them. Special Bull. Manitoba Dep. Agr. Immi: 35-40. 1894. 

Give a general account of the plant. 

FLETCHER, J. The [Russian Thistle, or Russian Tumble-Weed. Can. Dep. 
Agr. Central Exp. Farm Notes, 4: i-6,/. 1-3. Ag. 1894. 

Notes introduction of the plant into Manitoba, and gives a short account of the 

FLETCHER, J.c Tumble Weeds. Can. -Dep. Agr. Ann. Rep. Exp. Farms, 1893: 
192-193. /. 28-30. 1894. 

Gives short account of Russian thistle. 

GOFF, E. S. Noxious Weeds. Bull. Wis. Agr. Exp. Sta. 39: 4, 31-38. f .17-19. 
Ap. 1894. 

Gives a general account of the plant. 

IO8 BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

GOFF, E. S. The Russian Thistle. Bull. Wis. Agr. Exp. Sta. 37: 1-13. pi. 1-3. 
O. 1893. 

Presents an account of the characters, troublesomeness, etc., of the plant. 

HAYS, W. M. The Russian Thistle. Farm, Stock and Home, 9: 448, 449. 
/. f-j. i N. 1893. 

Gives an account of the plant with suggestions as how best to prevent future 
trouble from it. 

HAYS, W. M. The Russian Thistle, or Russian Tumble Weed. Bull. Minn. 
Agr. Exp. Sta. 33: 1-16. /. 1-3. Jl. 1894. 

Gives a general account of the plant and methods for eradicating it. 

HIGLEY, W. K. and RADDIN, C. S. The Flora of Cook County, Illinois, and a 
Part of Lake County, Indiana. Bull. Chicago, Aca. Sci. 22 1 : 98, 155. 1891. 

List Salsola Kali, then so-called, in certain places in the above counties. 

HIGLEY, W. K. and HILL, E. J. Russian Thistle in Chicago. The Tribune, 
Chicago, 111. 30 Ag. 1894. 

Report, at meeting of Academy of Science, several localities in the city where 
the plant had been found. 

HILL, E. J. Notes on the Flora of Chicago and Vicinity. Bot. Gaz. 17: 248 
Ag. 1892. 

Presents notes on Salsola Kali, so-called, as to its introduction and distribution 
in vicinity of Chicago. 

HILL, E. J. Salsola Kali Tragus. Bot. Gaz. 19: 506-507. 26 D. 1894. 

Gives note on introduction and spread of Russian thistle in vicinity of Chicago. 

HITCHCOCK, A. S. Additions to the Iowa Flora. Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 16: 70. 
8 Mr. 1889. 

Lists Salsola Kali, so-called then, from Iowa. 

MACMILLAN, C. The Metaspermae of the Minnesota Valley. Geol. and Nat. 
Hist. Surv. Minn. Bot. i: 213. 29 D. 1892. 

Lists Salsola Kali, as then called. 

MORROW, G. E. The Russian Thistle. The Daily Gazette, Champaign, 111. 18 
Ag. 1894. 

Reports the finding of the Russian thistle at St. Charles, 111., by E. C. Cook. 

MORROW, G. E. The Russian Thistle in Illinois. The Breeder's Gazette 26: 
131-132. 29 Ag. 1894. 

Notes several Illinois localities for-the plant as reported to the Experiment Sta- 

MORROW, G. E. The Russian Thistle in Illinois. Bull. 111. Agr. Exp. Sta 35: 
421-424. pi. 1-2. S. 1894. 

Gives a general account of the plant and its introduction into Illinois. 

PAMMEL, L. H. A Species of Pigweed. The Orange Judd Farmer 16: 50. 28 
Jl. 1894. 

Has in the article a note on the finding of the Russian thistle at Turner, 111. 

PAMMEL, L. H. Some Obnoxious Weeds of Iowa. Ann. Rep. la. Agr. Soc. 
i893: 436-442. //. 1-2. 1894. 

Gives law of Iowa against Russian thistle, together with an account of the plant. 

PAMMEL, L. H. Botany of Russian Thistle. Bull. la. Agr. Exp. Sta. 26: 8-25. 
//. i, 2, 7-9. 1894. 

Presents a general, technical and anatomical description of the plant, and briefly 
describes some plants likely to be mistaken for it. 

PATRICK, G. E. Report of the Chemist. Bull. la. Agr. Exp. Sta. 26: 26 29. 

Gives a report of chemical analyses made of Russian thistles of different ages. 

PAYNE, E. W. The Breeders' Gazette 26: 191. 19 S. 1894. 

Notes the finding of two Russian thistles near Morrison, 111. 


POWER, J. B. Bulletin on the Russian Cactus. Ann. Rep. N. Dak. Agr. Exp. 
Sta. 4: 18-20. 1894. 

Gives notes on Russian thistle quoted largely from bulletin by Prof. Bolley. 

RADDIN, C. S. Catalogue of the Phaenogaraous Plants of Evanston and Vicinity. 
Pamphlet Biol. Lab. Northwestern Uni.: 21. 1883. 

Lists Salsola Kali, the identity of which is not now definitely known. 

ROSE, J. N. Two New Weeds for the United States. Bot. Gaz. 16: 262. 
S. 1891. 

Reports Russian cactus as a pest in wheat fields of N. Dak. 

ROSE, J. N. Two Weeds New to the United States. Rep. Sec. Agr. l89i: 
356-357. //. 10. 1892. 

Notes Salsola Kali Tragus as a weed pest in the northwest. 

SELBY, A. D. The Russian Thistle in Ohio. Journ. Columbus Hort. Soc. 
9: 127-132. pi. 6, 7. S. 1894. 

Gives a short account of this plant. 

SELBY, A. D. The Russian Thistle. Emergency Poster Sup. Bull. Ohio. Agr. 
Exp. Sta. 55: //. /-j. 1894. 

Notes the introduction of the Russian Thistle in Ohio. 

SELBY, A. D. The Russian Thistle in Ohio. Bull. Ohio Agr. Exp. Sta. 55:53-58. 
pi. 1-3. F. 1895. 

Gives a general account of the plant. 

SHIPLEY, W. T. Noxious Weeds of Manitoba and how to destroy them. Special 
Bull. Manitoba Dep. Agr. Immi. : 17, 18. 1894. 

Gives a brief account of the Russian thistle. 

SNYDER, H. The Russian Thistle, and its Food Value and Draft upon the Soil. 
Bull. Minn. Agr. Exp. Sta. 34: 34-36. S. 1894. 

Presents notes on chemical analyses made to determine food value of the plant 
for stock. 

STEVENS, W. C. The Russian Thistle, Russian Cactus, or Russian Tumbleweed, 
its Character, Presence in Kansas and Suggestions for its Extermination. Pamphlet 
Kansas State Bd. Agr.: 1-15. //. /-j. Ag. 1894. 

Edits a general account of the plant. 

WATSON, S. and COULTER, J. M. Salsola Kali. Gray's Man. Bot.: 734. 1890. 
[6th ed.] 

List Salsola Kali, so-called then, from Iowa, Dakota, Nebraska. 

WAUGH, R. Noxious Weeds of Manitoba and how to destroy them. Special 
Bull. Manitoba Dep. Agr. Immi.: 27. 1894. 

Gives note on Russian thistle. 

WEBBER, H. J. Catalogue of the Flora of Nebraska. Ann. Rep. State Bd. 
Agr. 1889: 253. 1890. (Extracted, Rep. Bot. Neb.: 113. 1890.) 

Lists Salsola Kali, so-called then. 

WHEELER, C. F. The Russian Thistle. Press Bull. Mich. Agr. Exp. Sta. 5. 
Ag. 1894. 

Notes introduction of the plant in Michigan. 

WILLIAMS, N. The Russian Thistle, a Brief Account of the New Pest of the 
Northwest, with approved Methods of combating it, and containing the Report of 
the Cactus Committee appointed by the Governor at the La Moure Meeting, Nov. 9, 
1893. N. Dak. State Com. Agr. Labor: 1-15. //. 1-4. Ag. 1894. 

WILLIAMS, T. A. The Russian Thistle. Press Bull. S. Dak. Agr. Exp. Sta. 

Gives a short account of the pest as occurring in South Dakota. 

IIO BULLETIN NO. 39. [April, 

WILSON, J. The Russian Thistle. Bull. la. Agr. Exp. Sta. 26: 3-7. 1894. 
Includes results of sowing the plant on different kinds of land. 
VASEY, G. Investigation of Weeds. Rep. Sec. Agr. l892: 203. 1893. 
Notes appointment of agent to investigate the Russian thistle. 

G. P. CLINTON, M. S., 

Assistant Botanist. 


Fig. i. Mature plant of Russian thistle. From illustration used by Wis. Exp. 

Fig. 2. Details of Russian thistle, a. Flowering branch, b. Germinating 
plant, c. Relation of bracts and flower, d. Flower showing wings of calyx, e. 
Fruit or seed. f. Coiled embryo removed from seed. From illustrations used by 
U. S. Dep. Agr. 

Fig. 3. Small plant showing winter appearance. Collected at Wolf Lake, 111. 

Fig. 4. Details of Fig. 3. 

Fig. 5. Plants germinated indoors, a. Plants two weeks old, showing slender 
caulicle with cotyledons, b. Plant several weeks old. 

Fig. 6. Slender specimens of Russian thistle collected at Polo, 111., during latter 
part of August, 1894. 

Fig. 7. A part of a plant of the saltwort found along the coast in the east. 

Fig. 8. Map showing distribution of the Russian thistle in North America, so 
far as known at the U. S. Dep. Agr., Feb. 26, 1895. 

Fig. 9. Map showing distribution of Russian thistle in northern Illinois, as far 
as known at this Exp. Sta. 

Fig. 10. Pressed specimen of winged pigweed showing the flowering stage. 

Fig. ii. Pressed specimen showing part of a thorny amaranth. 

Fig. 12. Pressed specimen showing leaves, spiny stem, and fruit of part of a 

Fig. 13. Pressed specimen showing flower heads and leaves of Canada thistle. 

Fig. 14. Mature tumbleweed. 

Fig. 15. Details of Fig. 14. 

Fig. 16. Pressed specimen of the sand-bur. 

Fig. 17. Fruit details of Fig. 16. 

Fig. 18. Prickly lettuce, a. Ordinary form. b. Form with several stems result- 
ing from mowing the plant earlier in the season. 

Fig. 19. Details of Fig. 18. 

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