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Bull Thistle - Cirsium vulgare
Family: Asteraceae

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Flowers from June to September

Description

This, mostly biennial plant, is one of the most common and widespread of all thistles in North America. The leaves of this plant are lance-shaped, and prickly. The undersides are very hairy. The lobes of the leaves have long stout spines extending from them. The flower heads usually 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and similarly long. These clusters, which are generaly smaller, do not usually droop over like they do in musk thistle.

Two other invasive thistles, which can be confused with bull thistle that are very common and problematic are musk thistle and scotch thistle.

Interesting facts

Bull thistle is native to Eastern Asia, Europe and Northern Africa and was introduced to North America in colonial times. It is believed to have spread to the western US by the late 1800's and today is found in every state, including Hawaii.

Links to more information

  1. Photographs on www.invasive.org

  2. Photographs from Cal-photos

  3. USDA FEIS species account - everything you ever wanted to know about Bull Thistle


VIDEO


Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

 

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