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Cirsium

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SIR-see-um
Description

Thistles are in the aster family and can be biennials or perennials and vary greatly in size and color of the flowers. They all have spines and are considered weedy and in some states are listed as invasive. They spread by seeds and rhizomes. There are about 60 species that are native to North America.

Thistles are a high nectar plant that supports bees and butterflies and the birds, especially finches, eat the seeds. 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#birds#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#cut flowers#specialized bees#NC native#pollinator plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#birds#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#cut flowers#specialized bees#NC native#pollinator plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cirsium
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia, Africa, Southern America and Northern America
    Distribution:
    From Canada to Florida, coast to coast
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Cirsium support the following specialized bees: Melissodes (Heliomelissodes) desponsus, Osmia (Helicosmia) chalybea and Osmia (Helicosmia) texana. Birds eat the seeds.
    Edibility:
    Has been used for food in some counties.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • 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)
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Numerous disc florets that are divided into 5 long thread-like lobes giving it a showy hair-like appearance. Spines present in the numerous bracts below the flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Most have a basal leaf arrangement and alternate stem leaves. Spines are present on the leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees