tumble weed crossbreeds?

farmfreedomOctober 14, 2005

Has anyone crossed the tumble weed with anything ? I hear it is a relative of the cabbage . the cabbage was originally a desert plant . how close a relative of cabbage is it ?

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It does not seem to be a close relative at all. Tumbleweed is in the genus Salsola which used to be in Chenopodiaceae but is now in Amaranthaceae and that is in Caryophyllales.

Cabbage on the other hand is in the genus Brassica within the Brassicaceae and that is within the Brassicales.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree of Life

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 8:11PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Sorry, but the genus Salsola is still in the family Chenopodiaceae

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 9:01AM
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Sorry, but the genus Salsola is still in the family Chenopodiaceae

According to this quote from the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group there seems to have been a change (from the Tree of Life web-site).

Modern genetics-based classification schemes, such as that of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, include the family Chenopodiaceae in the Amaranthaceae as the subfamily Chenopodioideae. Well-known chenopodioid species include beet, goosefoot, quinoa, and spinach. The main differences between Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae are membraneous petals and stamens often united in a ring structure. Prior to the incorporation of Chenopodiaceae, the older narrow circumscription of Amaranthaceae contained only about 65 genera and 900 species.

It seems as if there is no longer a family Chenopodiaceae, there is now a sub-family Chenopodioideae but in terms of family Salsola would then seem to have to be in the Amaranthaceae.

The Tree of Life material is based on "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II" Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society Volume 141 Issue 4 Page 399-436, April 2003

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 10:33AM
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Since the change is so recent probably the vast majority of web-sites have not been updated.

At Wikipedia looking-up Chenopodiaceae leads to this statement:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from Chenopodiaceae)

The Chenopodioideae is a subfamily of the of the Amaranthaceae, formerly treated as a distinct family, Chenopodiaceae."

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia - Chenopodiaceae

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 11:14AM
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A couple things worth mentioning... some recent authors (e.g. Kadereit, Borsch, Weising, & Freitag, 2003) restrict Chenopodioideae to a subset of the taxa within what was Chenopodiaceae. Under this arrangement, Salsola is in the subfamily Salsoloideae. In general, though, whether you want to call Chenopodiaceae a separate family depends mostly on whether or not you mind having paraphyletic families. If you split out chenopods, the rest of Amaranthaceae becomes paraphyletic. Cladists don't like that, but I haven't seen any particular great arguments for that viewpoint. OTOH, the chenopods aren't really distinct in terms of morphology, so I'd be tempted to call them the same family on morphological grounds alone...

Patrick Alexander

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 11:08PM
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so WHAT vegetable or fruit can we cross the tumbleweeds with? What desert plants can be cross-breed with domestic plants?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 12:11PM
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mistercross(z6b Ozarks)

FarmFreedom, I don't know if tumbleweeds can be crossed with any food crop. They are in a subfamily of the family Amaranthaceae. A different subfamily contains spinach, chard, and beets. You might try those.

However, tumbleweeds are noted for their salt-tolerance, but the food crops are already considered salt-tolerant. So they might be far enough apart not to cross, but close enough to already have the characteristics you want. So it might be easier to cross within their subfamily, or within varieties of the particular species to get what you want.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 3:45AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)


I'm no expert on plant genetics, but if I wanted to produce food crops from desert plants, I would look to improving the edibility of some cacti, since some of these are already used for food. There are also some desert trees which have edible parts, either for humans or animals. And some desert "weeds" are also edible and might be selected and improved even without trying to cross them with domestic food crops. You might want to read through a J.L. Hudson seed catalog sometime for ideas.

Right now, I have a driveway full of big, dry tumbleweeds after a windstorm. One thing you can say about tumbleweeds is that they are easy to grow. The ones in my driveway got absolutely no care, water or cultivation during their growth in the field across the street. At the moment, I'm not too wild about the idea of eating them, though.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 10:42PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

A few years ago we encountered some tumbleweeds blowing across the road in a dust storm in southwest Texas that were more like small trees. Some were taller than our minivan. We tried our best to dodge them, but an occasional strike was unavoidable and capable of doing minor damage to our vehicle. The stem of one hit our windshield, cracking it, and it looked to be several inches in diameter and wood-like.

The tumbleweeds we had in northwestern Oklahoma were pigmies compared to those Texas giants. You could probably do some crossing and reselection of various varieties of tumbleweeds themselves. Spray paint them green and sell them as Christmas trees. (grin)


    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 1:36AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

This is an old thread but I happened on it and would like to say that I just found out about an edible Salsola, a Japanese vegetable called land seaweed, Okahijiki.

I ordered some seeds from Evergreen Y.H. Enterprises, it is also available from J. L. Hudson, seedsman.

It is adapted to salt marshes so would be useful in salty situations and perhaps Aquaponics set-ups where salt is used for the health of the fish.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 2:42AM
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If memory serves, 'tumbleweed' is a generic term for plants that disperse their seed by being blown around arid plains in the wind. I think there are a lot of different kinds in different families. There could be ones in Brassicaceæ.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Yes I would be interested in all desert plants that can be used for food crops . especially those from the Atima desert which is the most arid in the world. I know of the blue agave , the prickly pear, aloe vera , mescal locust beans,what others are of value ? I believe that cross breeding plants that thrive in hostile extreme environments can help us grow new commercial crops every where . Did you know Luther Burbank crossed his plums with the wild "beach plum " to give them hardiness and hybrid vigor ?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:11PM
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By the way I believe it is the Atacama desert that is the driest in the world . what seeds can be found from there?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 3:31PM
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