living in the West of the United States knows the tumbleweed. The tumbleweed is
just what its name describes. A weed is an unwanted plant, and the verb tumble
means "to roll over and over." When the tumbleweed is dry, the wind
breaks it from its roots. It forms into light balls, which are tumbled here and
there by the wind.
people who know the tumbleweed--especially farmers--don't like it very much.
like other weeds, it grows in with the farmers' crops. Unlike most other weeds,
it also grows up fences, in water canals, and in many other places where it
doesn't belong. And, unfortunately for the farmers, each tumbleweed plant
produces about 200,000 seeds.
the tumbleweed is often a nuisance, it can also be useful. Cattle eat
tumbleweeds when there hasn't been enough rain for grass to grow. In fact, the
tumbleweed is nutritious--it is high in protein, calcium fiber, and minerals. People
can cook the young, green tumbleweed and eat it as a vegetable. Scientists have
discovered that we can also burn tumbleweeds to heat our houses. Perhaps the
future will find other uses for this unwanted weed of the West.