Grassland, prairie, sagebrush, and desert shrub communities
Western North America
No listed status
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Kochia is an annual plant that grows by seed. They can grow as tall as 7 feet high, but are often shorter bushes. Their leaves are narrow and dark green, typically about 1 to 2 inches in length. Firebush flowers, which cluster at the end of the leaves, are present from July to September. Kochia is also known as burning bush or firebush.
Kochia is native to Eurasia and was introduced to America as an ornamental. Here in the United States, it is considered invasive in both the Great Plains and the Southwest.
While kochia can be eaten by livestock, it becomes toxic when it is the bulk of the animal’s diet.
Kochia is similar to Russian thistle (the most well-known species of tumbleweed) since when kochia dies it often dries and removes itself from its roots. Ultimately, the kochia plant tumbles away and spreads its seeds. Therefore, it is considered to be a type of tumbleweed.
Kochia received its common names “burning bush” and "firebush" since it turns red in color during the autumn. Often, from a distance, these bushes can appear similar to small fires during the fall.
Stallergenes Greer, Burningbush (Kochia), 2020, https://www.stagrallergymap.com/weeds/burningbush-kochia
U.S. Forest Service, Bassia scoparia, 2021, https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/bassco/all.html
Image: Matt Lavin, https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/4049537581, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/, cropped from original
Image: Stefan.lefnaer, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bassia_scoparia_subsp._densiflora_sl70.jpg, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en, cropped from original
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