Tumbleweeds~A Symbol Of The American West


                                                     Green Tumbleweeds Of Spring

Tumbleweeds blowing in the wind are a symbol of the American West. There are many different plants that are pretty and green, only to dry up and detach from the base and then….they are free, wild and blowing in the wind.

The plant that most people think of when they think of the tumbleweed is the Russian Thistle. It is believed that the Russian Thistle was first imported to South Dakota during the years of 1870-1877. The Mennonites are believed to have imported the Russian Thistle with a shipment of flax seed during the year of 1877. The fertile soil of South Dakota was perfect for this new invader and it quickly flourished in its new home. Soon it spread throughout the American West, becoming a symbol of the West.

There are many names for this invader that quickly took over the West. Some call it the “Tumbleweed,” while others know it as the “Russian Thistle,” but perhaps the most unique of all the names, is that of the “Wind Witch.” Whatever its name, it has quickly become the greatest symbol of the American West.

The Tumbleweed has been a star in many movies of the ” Old West.” Especially the westerns would show dry and dusty weeds blowing across the dry deserts of the west. You would see them blowing down the streets of old Western Towns, like Laramie, Wy.  William S. Hart even stared in the film, “Tumbleweeds”. This 1925 film showed the Old West in all her glory, including the tumbleweed, as it blew in the wind. Is it any wonder it quickly became a symbol of the American West?

Tumbleweeds even invaded the music culture of the land. The song, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, was made famous by the Sons of the Pioneers. The song, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” exploded into fame in 1935 with the film,” Tumbling Tumbleweeds”.  Tumbling Tumbleweeds was chosen by the Western Writers of America as one of the top western songs of all time.

Now, you can find these movies in libraries across the West and of course, they are all on You Tube. Almost everyone knows the song,”Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” that the Sons of the Pioneers made famous. But the simple tumbleweed itself has become a symbol of the West that is here to stay.


Published on steemit.com@exploretraveler May 15,2017 at:



Facebook Comments

You may also like

Alaska Marine Highway Adventure

Photo Credit Alaska Marine System Highway Ferry’s The