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What distinguishes Kochia from similar species in the Goosefoot family, such as Salsola kali (Russian Thistle), is the lack of thorns or prickles in the foliage. There is a cultivated form of Kochia that is occasionally grown in gardens as an ornamental plant. This cultivated form is quite different in appearance, having foliage that is light green and softer in texture than wild Kochia. The cultivated form occasionally reseeds itself and escapes, but it rarely persists in either waste areas or the wild. Sometimes Kochia is called 'Burning Bush' because the foliage turns red during the fall. Where this plant is abundant, it can cause allergic reactions in people during the late summer or fall because of the airborne pollen.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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