any of various plants, as Amaranthus albus, A. graecizans, or the Russian thistle, Salsola kali, whose branching upper parts become detached from the roots and are driven about by the wind.

1885–90, Americanism; tumble + weed1

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World English Dictionary
tumbleweed (ˈtʌmbəlˌwiːd)
any densely branched plant that breaks off near the ground on withering and is rolled about by the wind, esp one of several amaranths of the western US and Australia

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The wind blows yellow dust and tumbleweed across highways that seem to stretch
Yet it is part of that landscape now as surely as tumbleweed or sagebrush.
People who think they know from hearsay picture a bone-dry landscape puckered
  with sagebrush and tumbleweed.
There's a lot of time for reflection while sweeping the tumbleweed and dust off
  the patio.
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