When you think of a western film, a wasteland or an extinct ghost town, many people immediately think of the flying bale of straw. But what is the real name of this hay bale? And why are the plants flying around in western films at all?

The rolling bales of straw are a well-known illustration of “boredom”. So you don’t only see them in Western films, but often also as a GIF under boring Facebook posts or the like.

Many names for the flying straw bales

Most of them know the hay bales, but very few know that there is a name for them. In fact, there are even several names for it. The most famous names are:

  • Steppenhexe
  • Steppenläufer
  • Desert witch
  • Trolley
  • Floor runner

In English the flying hay bale is known as “tumbleweed”. “Tumble” means “fall” or “fall” in German, “weed” is the “herb”.

Why are the hay bales used in movies and what do they mean?

“Tumbleweed” is not a genus of plants, but a strategy that different plants use to spread. In German the “Chamaechorie” called. Detached fruits or parts of plants are rolled or slipped across the ground by the wind, creating the well-known ball.

John Wayne - The big Blu-ray box with 23 films

John Wayne – The big Blu-ray box with 23 films

Even if the “desert witch” was made famous by American western films, come the first The responsible linseed of the “Ruthenian salt herb” from Russia. In the absence of natural enemies, the herb was able to spread across western America and thus develop as a symbol for the western United States.

At some point filmmakers adopted the steppe runner as a “must have” for scenes in films in which deserted and dreary areas are shown. Usually the steppe runner is accompanied by a dry or creaky wind noise in such scenes.