Russian-thistle, a potential forage for arid lands.
Russian thistle-Salsola iberica, Salsola paulsenii and hybrids of these-is an aggressive weed of the arid and semi-arid western USA. However, it has been used successfully as hay and silage in bad years in the midwestern states, with very few reports of ill-effects. It has superior drought-resistance and water-use efficiency. It is chemically comparable to many cultivated forages and appears amenable to cultural modification of its nutritive properties. Its spiny nature is disadvantageous but reports of the less prickly species Salsola collina in the western USA are encouraging. The considerable variability among intergrades of S. iberica (Salsola kali) and S. paulsenii is an advantage of the species.