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Cirsium vulgare

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SIR-see-um vul-GAIR-ee
Description

Bull Thistle is a biennial that forms a rosette of leaves the first year and sends up a flowering stem the second year. It was introduced from Europe and has naturalized in most of North America. It can invade almost any type of disturbed areas and forms dense thickets that crowd out native plants. In pastures, it reduces forage potential due to its many spines. It is reported as invasive in several states.

It does attract bees and butterflies to its nectar.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#invasive#biennial#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#specialized bees#spines#pollinator plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#invasive#biennial#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#specialized bees#spines#pollinator plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cirsium
    Species:
    vulgare
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Siberia and Arabian Peninsula
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Cirsium support the following specialized bees: Melissodes (Heliomelissodes) desponsus, Osmia (Helicosmia) chalybea and Osmia (Helicosmia) texana.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Achenes with large tufts of white hair.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Each flower head contains numerous disc florets. Each disk floret is long and tubular and becomes divided into 5 long thread-like lobes giving it a hair-like appearance. The 1.5-2 inch flowers are pinkish-purple and occur solitary or in groups of 2-3. The bracts are stiff and rigid and have yellow-tipped spines. Blooms mid to late summer
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are up to 7" long and 2" across. The individual lobes narrow to a point and have spines. The upper leaves are unlobed. The leaf surface has white hairs and scattered small spines. There are spines at the base of the leaf and stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stout green stems covered in dense white hairs
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy