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Common name(s): Bull thistle, spear thistle Scientific name: Cirsium vulgare Family: Sunflower or Aster family (Asteraceae) Reasons for concern: This aggressive and persistent species can quickly take over both disturbed and unattended areas, and outcompete native species, reducing plant diversity and wildlife habitat. Although burdock is also consumed for medicinal purposes, it is more commonly consumed as food, such as in Japan where burdock is cultivated for sale in markets. They can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long. Exotic invasive Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Long silky hairs on Silver Plume Silver Plume blooms in September Virtually no hairs on Johnson grass SF 2016 (Cirsium discolor) Native Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum) Native Carolina Thistle (Cirsium carolinianum) Exotic invasive Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Perennial. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistles are annual and biennial nonnative plants in the sunflower family that are considered invasive. The Silybum marianum plant goes by many different names, including Scotch thistle, holy thistle, Mary thistle, variegated thistle, and milk thistle. Legend has it that in the tenth century, the invading Danes gave themselves away by their screams when they tried to steal away barefoot through a dry moat full of thistles. Musk thistle and bull thistle have been listed as noxious weeds only in … Scotch thistle is a biennial weed, so it depends quite heavily on establishment from seed on a regular basis if it is to be found commonly in any particular situation. But that’s where the resemblance ends. As nouns the difference between thistle and burdock is that thistle is any of several perennial composite plants, especially of genera cirsium'', ''carduus'', ''cynara or , having prickly leaves and showy flower heads with prickly bracts while burdock is any of the species of biennial thistles in the genus arctium . Small mammals such as thirteen-lined ground squirrels, mice, rabbits, and moles also feed on thistles. A lot of information is available about the need to get rid of invasive thistles and how to do it. Not common in MO. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Scotch thistle can be confused with bull thistle (Cirsium vulgaris), which is also sometimes called "Scotch thistle" and is much more common in western Washington. Image from NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Photos by Matt Lavin, MSU. Identify Scotch thistle by its rich purple blooms and the thick, spiky hairs on its leaves. It can form huge monocultures and is very difficult to eradicate. Foliage is hairy, lobed with prickles, and has a dark bluish-green color.. This food source is increasingly important as many of our pollinating insect populations are in decline. Erin is stationed in Chadron, Nebraska. Tea made from Canada thistle leaves has been used as a diuretic as well as for treatment of tuberculosis. It can also be found in over-grazed sites, roadsides, and riparian areas. Legend has it that in the tenth century, the invading Danes gave themselves away by their screams when they tried to steal away barefoot through a dry moat full of thistles. Working in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. However, Scotch thistle (and other biennials like it) does have some capacity to regrow if it is injured (like perennial weeds) by forming multi-rosettes from buds located at the base of e… Many native thistles also have thick, white hairs on the underside of leaves, giving the leaves a two-toned appearance; light on bottom, darker on top. The goldfinch is particularly attracted to the thistle. Scotch thistle Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW 569. Figure 2. The Value of Native Thistles Native thistles provide highly valuable food resources for a wide variety of insects, including: honey bees, bumble bees, long horned bees, leafcutter bees, sweat bees, syrphid flies, butterflies, hawk moths, soldier beetles, leaf beetles, scarab beetles, and parasitoid wasps. Solutions are posted to the . Thistles. Scotch thistle differs from bull thistle as it has larger yet fewer flowerheads, lacks basal leaves and has dense woolly hairs on its leaves; giving it a silvery appearance. She also has some experience with habitat improvement projects. Musk thistle (Carduus nutans), See 4D and 5D on pages 4 and 5. Answer: Both thistles and nettles have been called the devil’s plant or devil’s vegetable because of their thorns, and both are considered prickly weeds, although they’re often used medicinally. Prevalence and impact of the crown fly, Botanophila spinosa, on its host thistle, Onopordum acanthium, in southern France. ... Scotch thistle is a slow-growing biennial. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Figure 2A. Custom programming and server maintenance by. Because control is not required in the county, it is on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King County. Thistles are also an important resource for native herbivorous insects that feed on their leaves, stems, and flowers. Bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a variety of soil types and conditions. It has spiny-winged stems, and its flowers are classic onion-shaped thistle flowers. Vigorous biennial or short-lived warm-season perennial forb with coarse, spiny leaves and conspicuous spiny-winged stems; 1-1/2 to 12 feet tall. In contrast, many pasture weeds are perennials which, once they have germinated, then remain alive for many years afterwards due to vegetative reproduction. Scotch thistle has been found growing in a number of western Washington counties but the sites are generally small and isolated. Thistle Identification Telling thistle species apart can be difficult. UNL web framework and quality assurance provided by the, Visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Apply to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Give to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension: Community Environment, http://www.livestockforlandscapes.com/about.htm, A thistle is the national emblem of Scotland. The Bull thistle was used by early humans as a warm medicinal tea. Scotch Thistle … Biennial thistles, such as musk (Carduus nutans L.), plumeless (Carduus acanthoides L.) and bull thistle [Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore], are not as difficult to control as the perennial thistle species, but spread rapidly and can become severe problems in some areas. bull thistle J. DiTomaso, bugwood.org Scotch thistle J. Randall, bugwood.org. The leaf margins of a flowering bull thistle plant (a) are tipped with spines, and the stems have spiny wings. Flowers are larger than Canada thistle, developing to 1 inch tall and wide. Culturally we really just don't like thistles. Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly on Flodman's thistle. Onopordum acanthium. ---Description---It is a biennial, flowering in late summer and autumn. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. For example, non-native bull thistle and native tall thistle share over 80% of their herbivore community. Native thistles are usually found as single plants or in small clumps rather than the expansive stands often formed by non-native thistles. Scotch thistle is found in any type of habitat but normally establishes quickly in disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as cheatgrass. Erect foliage and flower stems are formed the second year. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistle (left to right). Yellow thistle (Cir-sium horridulum), See 3C and 6C on pages 3 and 6. Bull thistle gene… Given the opportunity, a bull thistle can grow to 5 feet tall, and send out multiple flower stalks. Many species of thistles have edible roots, inner stems, young leaves, young inner parts of flower buds and seeds. Biennial thistles spread only by seed (achenes) that are produced in great number by all the noxious species, ran… Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae.Prickles can also occur all over the plant – on the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. In reality, native thistles are a group of wildflowers that are just as much a part of prairie ecosystems as more well-loved groups of wildflowers like coneflowers, penstemons, or prairie clovers. Scotch thistle is more densely covered with white hairs, tends to be taller, and the stems have "wings" along the entire length, unlike bull thistle. It is much more common in counties on the east side of the Cascades. Most of the non-natives have hairless or sparsely haired leaves. Though bull thistle is difficult to contain, frequent mowing before it flowers can help keep it under control. Native thistles provide food for songbirds such as American goldfinch, indigo bunting, pine siskin, dark-eyed junco, several species of sparrow, and ruby-throated hummingbird. Nettles are commonly of the family Urticaceae, and their tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them the name stinging nettle. We have 10 species of thistle in Nebraska, 5 native (tall, Platte, Flodman's, yellowspine, and wavyleaf) and 5 non-native (plumeless, musk, Canada, bull, and Scotch). Figure 2B. Nebraska Extension Acreage Team Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Lincoln, NE 68528, Phone: (402) 441-7180 Email: sbrowning2@unl.edu. 2003. Canada thistle has been on the Noxious Weed List since 1873. Schuster, M., and T.S. Erin grew up in southeastern Nebraska roaming around the farm land of her parents’ home and the adjacent state Wildlife Management Area and State Recreation Area. thistles also feed on bull thistle. For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Contro… Open Fields and Waters land west of Ainsworth, Brown County. Not only does the goldfinch pull the seeds out to eat; it also uses the thistle down (the pappus) to line its nest. In comparison, bull thistle has basal leaves and leaves that are smooth to sparsely woolly below; giving a green appearance. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) has lobed leaves with sword-shaped sections, and scary spines at the tips. Native thistle provide important habitat and food sources for native fauna. Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum), See 3A and 6A on pages 3 and 6. It rarely reaches infestation levels that justify treatment, probably because the insects that feed on native Circium spp. A) Bracts small and leaf-like, purple tipped, and collectively less than 0.8 inches high, unlike all other thistles except spiny plumeless (exotic, p. 8) and Wyoming thistle (native, p. 15); heads are 0.3-0.5 inches Italian thistle Yellow starthistle Bull thistle (Blessed) milkthistle Scotch thistle Tocalote (Malta starthistle) Canada thistle All of these species are found at least one of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, or Tulare Counties. All biennial thistles considered noxious are native to Europe or Eurasia, and were introduced into North America as seed contaminants. The Scotch Thistle, or Cotton Thistle (Onopordon Acanthium) is one of the most beautiful of British plants, not uncommon in England, by roadsides and in waste places, particularly in chalky and sandy soils in the southern counties. Figure 2C. Landowners and homeowners realize this plant was a serious problem and needed to be controlled. 80% to 90% of seeds remain viable for five years and they are spread far and wide by water, wind, wildlife, and human activity. Our native thistles tend to get a bad reputation right along with the non-natives even though native thistles do not typically exhibit the same invasive, weedy tendencies. Milk thistle was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first century A.D. Like nettles, thistles have been prescribed for toothaches, as a restorative tonic, and to impart warmth through their counterirritant action. Scotch thistle is … It wasn’t un l 1959 that the rapid infesta on rate of musk thistle brought out the public concern of thistles in Nebraska. Coordinating Wildlife Biologist. We have 10 species of thistle in Nebraska, 5 native (tall, Platte, Flodman's, yellowspine, and wavyleaf) and 5 non-native (plumeless, musk, Canada, bull, and Scotch). One variety, the Scotch thistle, sports purple flowers and prickly leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland. Unfortunately, some of that effort may be unnecessary since it is often directed at eradicating all thistles indiscriminately. Scotch thistle, Gary Stone photo. Plumeless and Scotch thistles are listed as noxious weeds in both Arizona and New Mexico. Learn more at. The Value of Native Thistles To the best of my knowledge, there are no fully reliable physical characteristics to distinguish all native thistles from non-native thistles, but in general, native thistles tend to be less spiny with the spines more localized on leaf margins. Populations of native thistles can act as a reservoir of these insect herbivores and help suppress invasions of non-native thistles. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. Weedy characteristics: Scotch thistle is highly competitive and aggressive, and forms dense colonies that can choke out native vegetation. Cattle can be trained to eat Canada thistle and other weeds. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014]. FIGURE 4. This plant often grows as a biennial. The Bull thistle also provides seeds to granivores (consumers of grains and seeds) such as goldfinches. Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect. This article focuses on why we should keep native thistles around and start thinking of them as "wildflowers" rather than "weeds". Bull thistle is a biennial that forms a rosette the first year. Prather. Overview Information Scotch thistle is a plant. … Thistles are of the family Asteraceae. Bull thistle is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988. Legend has it that at some point during a 13. Identification •Many species start as a basal rosette in fall In the case of invasive non-native invasive thistles, the dislike makes sense. This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. Bull thistle leaves are alternate, pinnately cut, (lance-shaped) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. The large flower heads and flower density of many native thistles encourages greater visitation by pollinators. Public and private landowners are not required to control infestations of bull thistle that occur on their property in King County. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a GIS graduate certificate. Question: Is a thistle the same as a nettle, and do they both sting? Habitat. One variety, the Scotch thistle, sports purple flowers and prickly leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) (Figure 2) has been present in Oklahoma for more than 40 years and occurs statewide. Occasionally, in disturbed sites, native thistles such as Flodman's thistle, can form localized stands, but are less likely to expand than non-native thistles. The spread of non-native thistles presents environmental and agricultural problems that people expend great effort to address. Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. Those pink or purple flowered prickly plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) that tend to evoke feelings of antagonism and strong dislike. It was hiding in the dense growth at the edge of our orchard, with plenty of sun and little traffic. Each plant produces 70 to 300 flowers and up to 40,000 seeds annually. Native herbivorous insects can do the most damage to invasive thistles when both the native and non-native thistle have similar growth and bloom periods. Description . Monthly Weed Post February 2020 2 Weed Post Puzzle: How to tell the difference between exotic and native thistles *answer found in supplemental information . Contrary to the name, Canada thistle did not come into the U.S. from our northern neighbor, but rather was introduced in the 17th century from the Mediterranean region and southeast Europe. Many of these herbivorous insects that feed on native thistles also feed on non-native thistles and may help suppress thistle invasions. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, she worked for the Forest Service in Arizona, Oregon State University and Boise State University’s Raptor Research Center conducting surveys for Mexican and Northern Spotted Owl, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle and other raptors. It is used as medicine. The next time you jump on your ATV to address noxious and invasive vegetation on your property please give some thought to which thistle you target and which ones you leave. Yellowspine . Acta Oecologica 24(2):77-86. Scotch thistle (Ono-pordum acanthium), See 4E and 5E on pages 4 and 5. This thistle doesn't have the milky striping, and its leaves are hairier than Italian or milk thistle. Native thistles also provide nesting sites for cavity nesting bees, which are known to use the stalks of thistles. 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