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Cycloloma atriplicifolium NRCS-2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Cycloloma
Species: C. atriplicifolium
Binomial name
Cycloloma atriplicifolium
(Spreng.) J.M.Coult.
  • Salsola atriplicifolia Spreng.
  • Kochia atriplicifolia (Spreng.) Roth

Cycloloma is a monotypic genus which contains the sole species Cycloloma atriplicifolium, which is known by the common names winged pigweed, tumble ringwing, plains tumbleweed,[1] and tumble-weed.[2] This plant is native to central North America, but it is spreading and has been occasionally reported in far-flung areas from California to Maine to the Canadian prairie. It is considered an introduced species outside of central North America. This is a bushy annual herb forming a rounded pale green clump which may exceed half a meter in height. It is very intricately branched, with toothed leaves occurring near the base. The spreading stems bear widely spaced flowers are small immature fruits fringed with a nearly transparent membranous wing. In autumn, the plant forms a tumbleweed.[3] The fruit is a utricle about 2 millimeters long containing a single seed.


The seeds are eaten as a food staple by Native American peoples including the Zuni and Hopi. The Zuni people mix the seeds with ground corn to make a mush. [4] The Zuni also grind the seeds, mix them with corn meal and make them into steamed cakes.[5] The Zuni also chew the blossoms and rub them all over the hands for protection.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown (1913). An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions: From Newfoundland to the Parallel of the Southern Boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean Westward to the 102d Meridian. 2. C. Scribner's sons.  page 16
  3. ^ Louis Hermann Pammel (1903). Some Weeds of Iowa. Experiment Station, Iowa State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.  page 455
  4. ^ Castetter, Edward F. 1935 Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest I. Uncultivated Native Plants Used as Sources of Food. University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(1):1-44 (p. 22)
  5. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 p.67
  6. ^ Stevenson, p.84

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