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Cirsium arvense

Previously known as:

  • Carduus muticus
  • Cirsium muticum
Phonetic Spelling
SIR-see-um ar-VEN-see
Description

Canadian Thistle is an upright herbaceous perennial weed in the daisy family.  It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa where is is found in wet meadows, swamps, bogs, and moist woodlands. It was introduced to the United States in the 1600's and is considered a noxious weed in 43 states.  It prefers moist soil, sun to partial shade but withstands a variety of soil conditions and is most commonly found in disturbed areas, clearings or agricultural sites.   

The common name Creeping Thistle comes from its tendency to spread by lateral root growth or its seeds are wind dispersed allowing it to rapidly form dense stands that can shade out native plants.  The leaves are poky like other thistles and it has purple pink flowers that appear in the summer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Canada Thistles extensive and aggressive root and shoot system coupled with its prolific seed production make it very difficult to manage.  Consistent repeated mowing and/or hand pulling can deplete the root system storage over a series of years.   Biological and chemical management may need to be used in conjunction with mechanical measures.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#white#full sun tolerant#lavender#perennial#weedy#fall interest#aggressive#NC native#summer flowers#wind dispersed seeds#disturbed areas#spring interest#wildflower garden#perennial weed#partial shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#white#full sun tolerant#lavender#perennial#weedy#fall interest#aggressive#NC native#summer flowers#wind dispersed seeds#disturbed areas#spring interest#wildflower garden#perennial weed#partial shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cirsium
    Species:
    arvense
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The feathery pappus from the fruits was used by the Cherokee as fletching on their blow darts.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia, Northwestern Africa
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Tiny dry 0.1" long with feathery white to light brown pappus
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    There are male and female plants. Female flowers have a sence and male flowers do not. Pink, deep lavender, or white flowers; bracts are tomentose without spines. Flowering occurs from June-August and an average flower produces 2000 seeds per plant.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green, deeply lobed, elliptic to oblong-lanceolate leaves 2"-6" long (5"-8" basal leaves) sometimes slightly clasping the stems; tomentose below and very prickly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Ridged stems are hairy
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy