Prior to the writer’s visit to East Europe in the summer of 1882, attention was directed to the plant we call Russian Thistle by a note in Prof. Henfrey’s well known work, "The Vegetation of Europe, its Condition and Causes,” as follows: “On the steppes east of the Volga one curious thorny plant has attracted the attention of most travelers, the “Wind Witch,” as it is called by the German colonists, or “Leap the field,” as the Russian name may be translated. It forms a large globular mass of light wiry branches interlaced together, and in autumn decays off at the root the upper part drying. It is then at the mercy of the autumn blasts and it is said that thousands of them may sometimes be seen coursing over the steppes, rolling, dancing, and leaping over the slight inequalities, often looking at a distance like a troop of wild horses. Mr. Kohl says. it is not uncommon for twenty or more to become entangled into a mass and then roll away like a huge giant in his seven league boots.”
Budd, J. L.
"The Russian Thistle in its natal home.,"
Bulletin: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/bulletin/vol3/iss26/6