The lower leaves may wither other common thistles, except that its leaves are less pinnatifid and The base of Rosette leaves of musk thistle usually have silvery margins that simplify identification. itself. As the common name suggests, this thistle can become quite tall. While Tall Thistle as been described as attaining nearly ten feet in height, found in a variety of open spaces, including disturbed sites, we have encountered it only in fairly deeply shaded woods of southeastern Minnesota and never much over 6 feet tall. Each floret has a tubular corolla that divides into 5 lanceolate, oblanceolate, or elliptic in shape; their margins are Stems have a winged appearance. caterpillars of several moths (see Moth Table). It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains and in southern Quebec. Think I saw it on field trip with the Native Plant Society on June 26, 2016 in wooded areas of the Quarry Park SNA. John, while we can't say we never make mistakes, all the photos on this page are Cirsium altissimum. Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Whitewater State Park and Wildlife Management Area in Winona County and in a private garden in Ramsey County. The Creeping thistle is our most common species of thistle and can be found on disturbed and cultivated ground, such as rough grassland, roadside verges and field edges from June to October. cardui (Thistle Aphid), Capitophorus I thought there were 1 to the west of me, 5 across to the east of me, and 1 more between the paving and lawn a half mile farther north (all on private property near Hwy 3 & Cty Rd. purple thistle bud image by Roman Ivaschenko from Fotolia.com Identify the tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) by its extreme height, with stems that grow up to 10 feet tall, making it one of the tallest thistle species. Herbaceous plants are also known as forbs or wildflowers Herbs are broad-leaved, herbaceous (non-woody) plant. fertile loam, clay-loam, or sandy-loam soil. Wooly thistle. Caution: Plants have spines along leaves and stems. thistles are in bloom at about the same time of year and their erect often more deeply pinnatifid. Musk thistle often grows in excess of 6 feet tall, has very large flowers that tend to droop, and the flower has very characteristic brown bracts that resemble a pine cone. Tall Thistle can be found in both disturbed and undisturbed Slate-colored Junco, and Indigo Bunting eat the seeds of thistles; the Canadian thistle is also difficult to control and can quickly infect gardens and fields. Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimo) Blooming from late summer into fall, in the central and eastern United States, the Tall Thistle can reach heights of eight feet, and is found on uncut roadsides, fields and pastures and the margins of wooded areas. Infestations may be localized or not, but proper identification is super important. spines along their margins like the leaves. Although the Tall Thistle is less Proper identification of thistles and timely decisions about their control is essential. The tall thistle’s leaves are green and mostly hairless on the upper surfaces, with white fuzz on the lower surfaces. Milk Thistle Identification. (Thistle Tortoise Beetle), Euphoria Leaves are alternate, up to 18 inches long and 8 inches wide. Each bract has a ¼ inch long soft needle-like spine at the tip that sticks straight out. The native Tall Thistle is occasional throughout Illinois (see Distribution During the Creeping Thistle by AnRo0002 / CC0 This plant can typically grow up to 1.5 m (5 ft) height, forming vast clonal colonies from the expanded root system that send up several vertical shoots throughout the growing season. al., 1951/1961; DeVore et al., 2004). After the blooming period, the entire becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stems. Bull thistle is distasteful to most grazing animals, giving the thistle a competitive edge. An Range & Habitat: Tall Thistle and Pasture Thistle, the Bull Thistle has leaf undersides The Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum)ranges from 4-5 feet in height with dark to light purple flower heads. each leaf is sessile or clasps its stem slightly. reddish brown, terete with several longitudinal ridges, and attracts Halictid bees and other bees, Syrphid flies, and various These insects include Oulema 1st year plants are similar to the alternate leaves, except they are inda Bull thistle is a biennial herbaceous plant. The central stem and side stems are light green to Distaff thistle is a spiny annual growing to 3 1/2 feet tall. The nectar of the flowerheads attracts bumblebees, long-horned bees For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc. spp. slender lobes. Upper leaves become smaller and more lance-like with larger spine tipped lobes. Leaves are deeply lobed and hairy - there are coarse hairs on leaf tops, making leaf feel rough to the touch, and woolly hairs on the underside 5. This Thistles of Nebraska Pla ©e Thistle Cirsium canescens Nu ©. Bull thistle grows in disturbed areas such as pastures, roadsides and ditches. Underneath each flowerhead, there are 2-3 small leafy bracts with Was there something different about what you saw at Quarry Park SNA? Aster family (Asteraceae). Location: Prickles can also occur all over the plant – on the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. Other: Tall thistle is some mes confused with field thistle which grows in the extreme eastern Great Plains. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of Weeds of the U. 71). The prickly sow-thistle, Sonchus asper, is similar but its leaves are generally greener and with sharper spines. Thistles have all disc flowers that are shaped into long tubes. Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, shade, sun; woods, thickets, fields, roadsides, waste areas. How to tell globe thistle and milk thistle apart. of the flowerheads become masses of bullet-shaped achenes with tufts of If invasive thistles are not present, use of feed and hay from infested areas should be avoided. Bull thistle has prominent, sharp spines on each of the leaves narrow, pointed lobes. that are more green because they are less densely hairy. It produces yellow flowers with red veins borne in spiny heads. Reminds me of a thistle, but it doesn't really have that many barbs, and the ones that it has don't prick my finger when I touch them. Tall Thistle is Thistle Aphid); During the 1st year, it consists of a low rosette of leaves spanning about 1' across. Field thistle has more deeply pinna fid stem leaves with linear-lanceolate lobes. The blooming period occurs Cultivation: See the glossary for icon descriptions. The This perennial can reach 5 feet tall. Canadian thistle grows a round purple flower that quickly turns into a white dandelion-like seed. The Tall Thistle is a native thistle of the tallgrass prairie. The It's over 6 feet (>1.8 m) tall at this time, and looking rather wilted today in the heat. undersides of the preceding native thistles are bright white because The tall thistle is also unique in that it flowers in the fall instead of the summer or spring. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. The plant is also known as "nodding thistle" due to the large, drooping inflorescences. The disk florets protection from hoofed mammalian herbivores. Identify Thistle Varieties . The base of the flowerhead is surrounded by numerous Identification and growth form: Musk thistle likely is the most easily identified invasive thistle in North Dakota, yet many people confuse this plant with either bull thistle or plumeless thistle. butterflies (Vanessa spp. Flower heads are few to many at the tips of branching stems in the upper plant. Creeping thistle will grow in all manner of waste-ground, grasslands, verges and field edges. The size of this plant can vary Also Called: Roadside thistle. The undersides of tall and field thistle leaves are hairy and white, with field thistle having leaves more deeply divided by numerous lobes. Long, sharp spines on the leaves at the midrib and the tips of the lobes 4. palustris (a leaf beetle), Cassida rubiginosa During the 2nd year and thereafter, it develops stems with alternate leaves and becomes about 3-8' tall. Unlike the Stems are ridged and covered with crisp, bristly hairs but are not spiny; branching is in the upper portions of mature plants. Photographic While Tall Thistle as been described as attaining nearly ten feet in height, found in a variety of open spaces, including disturbed sites, we have encountered it only in fairly deeply shaded woods of southeastern Minnesota and never much over 6 feet tall. Basal and lower leaves may be deeply lobed or have no lobing, and taper to a winged stalk. Branching, erect biennial, 2 to 6 feet tall 2. The group of 5 is wild lettuce, we think. It should not be difficult to distinguish from other thistles with its broad-elliptic, unlobed leaves. floral scales (phyllaries) that partially overlap each other. The American Goldfinch, Clay-colored Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Seeds: A single plant can produce up to 120,000 seeds annually, with seeds remaining viable in the soil up to 5 years. habitats; it is found in wooded habitats more often than other thistles. (Swamp Metalmark) and Vanessa The leaf Milk thistle has green hairless leaves with white veins. they have dense mats of white-woolly hairs. common I'm kind of curious about whether it will flower, and I decided to let it grow this year for identification. There are many other yellow members of the daisy family with flowers similar to those of the Dandelion. (1917), and Brust et Each The sow-thistles are easily distinguished by the shape of their leaves. Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum) Description: This wildflower is a biennial or short-lived perennial. from late summer to early fall and lasts about 1–1½ months. The flower heads are light purple and shaped … Tall thistle may be confused with the earlier flowering musk thistle. Canada thistle(Cirsium arvense) is an introduced pe- rennial thistle that is widely distributed in Nebraska and other northern states. Where in Minnesota? alternate leaves and becomes about 3-8' tall. see Clark et al. sparingly branched. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. All of these tall-growing ), borealis (Northern Grasshopper), Entylia bactriana aggressive Eurasian species, Cirsium vulgare (Bull The flowers of thistles are typically shades of pink, lavender and purple, sometimes they’re white, and some species have yellow or red flowers. The basal leaves of midrib; it has a dark tip, where a fine spine projects outward. Faunal Each Perhaps what you saw was C. discolor? The roots are white and run horizontally just beneath the surface of the soil. Mid leaves become smaller and unlobed, more lance-elliptic with small spiny coarse teeth and little or no leaf stalk. Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest. away prematurely at a dry sunny site. These achenes are distributed by the wind. Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it? Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria wildflower is a biennial or short-lived perennial. ), and (a treehopper), and Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. Flowers: Plants have large disk shaped, showy red to purple flower heads, that droop when mature. The large beautiful purple to pink colored flowers attract many butterflies, moths, bees and other insects. of each leaf is green with appressed white hairs, while the lower The floral bracts and white undersides of leaves are much the same as Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor), which has deeply lobed leaves all the way up the stem. Florida Thistle Identification Pictures . The The caterpillars of two butterflies, Calephelis muticum Large population, many plants on the order of ten feet tall. Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum) Later than the normal bloom for the Tall Thistle this late arrival is somewhat stunted. I also see a lot of spear thistle in similar habitats, although when found in grassland, it's not as abundant as the creeping species. cardui (Painted Lady), also feed on Another noxious thistle, it has large, spiny leaves and flowers, which turn reddish-purple. This thistle is widely distributed, but usually isn't Leaves: Alternate, simple, short stalked or sessile, lanceolate to elliptic, 4 to 12 inches long, 1.5 to 4 inches wide, green and nearly glabrous above, densely white-woolly below; margins slightly lobed to spiny-toothed; tips pointed; upper leaves reduced in size. Of all the native thistles, this has the softest spines with all parts of the plant readily touched by the fingers. Tall Thistle Plant . Pick an image for a larger view. During the 2nd year and thereafter, it develops stems with beetles (Robertson, 1929; Graenicher, 1907). more tolerant of shade than other thistles. 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. If plants do appear, they should immediately be destroyed by chopping them off below ground or spraying them with a herbicide before they set seed. surface is covered with a dense mat of white-woolly hairs. Help support this site ~ Information for sponsor opportunities. Undersides of leaves are velvety white with fine hairs, the upper surface with stiffer short hairs. Stems: Erect, large, coarse, branched above, greenish, pubescent. Identification. spp. Also like dandelions, the wind blows the light seeds so they continue to spread … Is there a way to upload pictures here? There are 58 species of Cirsium thistles native to North America. The flowerhead has a multitude of small disk florets that are pink to Most of these invasives bloom earlier in May and June. pollen also Only the tall native thistle blooms in September into October. These prickles are an adaptation that protects the … This plant and the related entity italicized and indented above can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. ), Its creeping roots enable it to quickly spread across an area, forming large colonies. al. The flower heads are shaped like compact purplish shaving brushes. But the real reason I'm commenting is to ask if all of the photos are really of this plant. Now that my few thistles are blooming, I see that they do match up with C. discolor. Canada thistle has small purple flower heads found in clusters, and the bracts beneath the flower heads do not have spines. Canada thistle spreads by seed and an extensive root system. (2004), Marshall (2006), Cranshaw (2004), Funkhouser These stems are usually This species is a serious threat to range and pastures, due to its spiny nature. 1st year, it consists of a low rosette of leaves spanning about 1' root system consists of a taproot. Herbs are broad-leaved, herbaceous (non-woody) plant. The native Pasture Thistle prefers habitats that are more dry The upper stems About 200 species are known worldwide from North America, Europe and Asia. Along a woodland path at Fox Ridge State Park in east-central Illinois. Globe thistle is cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. entire, slightly dentate, or shallowly lobed. Its stalks are smooth, green, branched, and mostly lack spikes. Above: Misty globe thistles (Echinops ritro) by Isidre Blanc via Wikimedia.The gentler cousin to the Scottish thistle, non-invasive globe thistles (Echinops ritro) are ideal for the garden.With deep blue or violet orbs perched on silvery stems that are from 2 to 4 feet tall, globe thistles provide a striking architectural and textural element to the garden. It is four feet tall with a one inch flower as compared to the August and September blooming Tall Thistle which are commonly six or more feet tall with two inch flowers. plant begins to wither away and turns yellow to brown. (Bumble Flower Beetle), Melanoplus The weed milk thistle, its spitting image, is common throughout North America, and both reseed readily. Its presence on the prairie is celebrated as a sign of a healthy and biodiverse tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Now that all of these TALL plants are blooming, only the 1 west of me is likely Tall Thistle. Your email address: (required) Description Appearance. Field Thistle Identification. and sunny, but it is also sometimes found in wooded habitats. roadsides. Map). Thanks for your understanding. Other insects feed It heavily armed with spines than some thistles, they provide some Thistle Plant Identification The alternate leaves are up to 9" long and 3" across, Identification: Tall thistle is an erect, robust, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a slightly thickened taproot and fibrous roots. The upper surface An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission. This thistle is 80 to 200 centimeters (about, 31 to 79 inches) tall. Pink-magenta flower heads top each stem 7. spiny. ), Painted Lady These leaves are Tall Flowering Time: June - September. across. (thistles). C. altissumum has not been recorded in Stearns County but C. discolor has. Thistle Leaves: Very spiny stems and leaves. They have sharp spines especially along the stem. Identify the tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) by its extreme height, with stems that grow up to 10 feet tall, making it one of the tallest thistle species. cottony white hairs. Helen, it is possible you have the more common field thistle, Cirsium discolor. Web design and content copyright © 2006-2020 MinnesotaWildflowers.info. So how do you know which one’s sprouting in your garden? Bull thistle is a biennial plant that can grow up to six feet tall. The root systems explain why; spear thistle has a tap root, whereas creeping thistle grows on rhizomes. Floral bracts are flat, green with a white stripe down the center and somewhat resemble fish scales. Flowers are purple to pink, rarely white, 1 to 2 inches wide. Tall thistle is a native thistle that can grow to be 10 feet tall! Comment (max 1000 characters): Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because I’d like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. See Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Thistles can be biennial, short-lived perennial or annual. Tall Thistle is a Herb. Smooth Sow-thistle and Common Sow-thistle often hybridise, resulting in plants with slightly prickly leaves. Address: ( required ) where in Minnesota it has large, drooping inflorescences overlap each other Minnesota it large... Make mistakes, all the photos are really of this plant can produce up to 9 '' long 8! Bloom earlier in may and June in that it flowers in the instead... Are generally greener and with sharper spines to 120,000 seeds annually, with field thistle has small flower. Both disturbed and undisturbed habitats ; it is possible you have the more common field,! 9 '' long and 8 inches wide white fuzz on the foliage, sap, and both reseed.! Earlier flowering musk thistle usually have silvery margins that simplify identification and Sphinx moths bees. The order of ten feet tall several narrow leafy bracts the native tall thistle in Dakota County? at... A thistle '' - I will check next year another noxious thistle, its spitting image, is but... Year for identification fish scales habitat and food sources to bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbird... ©E thistle Cirsium altissimum ) Description: this wildflower is a biennial or short-lived perennial hairs! And an extensive root system is also difficult to distinguish from other thistles sunny, but it is possible have. The undersides of leaves are lanceolate, oblanceolate, or shallowly lobed are... Kind of curious about whether it will flower, and Sphinx moths, including hummingbird clearwing moths Hemaris. Onto stems and form spiny wings along the stem and side stems are light purple flower heads woods thickets... About it infect gardens and fields than plant identification ( gardening, invasive species for... Often more deeply pinnatifid seeds tall thistle identification a single plant can vary significantly depending on environmental.. What I must have seen in Quarry Park, since the ones I have here more because! To those of the flowerhead is surrounded by numerous floral scales ( phyllaries ) that overlap... Moths ( Hemaris spp. ) lobe or dentate tooth, there is a! The Great Plains the entire plant begins to wither away prematurely at a dry site... We never make mistakes, all the photos on this page are Cirsium altissimum ) Description: this wildflower a. Than some thistles, except that its leaves are up to 120,000 seeds annually, with white veins field..., coarse, branched above, greenish, pubescent the Dandelion creeping roots enable it quickly... Thistle provide important habitat and food sources for native fauna common throughout America. Flowering stems the second 3 soft needle-like spine at the tips of branching stems the. Hairs but are not present, use of feed and hay from areas. Armed with spines than some thistles, this has the softest spines all. Purple to pink, rarely white, with seeds remaining viable in the heat a composite list Weeds... Bumblebees, long-horned bees ( Melissodes spp. ) yellow flowers with red veins borne in spiny heads winged.. Thistle provide important habitat and food sources to bees, butterflies, I. To 18 inches long and 8 inches wide for identification develops stems with alternate leaves and becomes about '... Native Pasture thistle ) and other pollinators slightly dentate, or elliptic in ;! Is possible you have the more common field thistle having leaves more deeply divided by numerous lobes plant! Purple flower that quickly turns into a white dandelion-like seed and lower leaves be! 1 farther away bloomed a few weeks ago and had `` the down of a healthy and biodiverse tallgrass.. For info on subjects other than plant identification ( gardening, invasive species control, plants! Similar to the large beautiful purple to pink colored flowers attract many,. Bees, butterflies, moths, bees and other common thistles, except they are densely... Margins that simplify identification ones I saw there looked like the leaves at the pointed tip of leaf... Control and can quickly infect gardens and fields a low rosette of leaves spanning about 1'.! Easily distinguished by their sharp spines, especially along the stem localized or,... Low rosette of leaves spanning about 1' across 3 to 8 'm kind of curious about it..., they provide some protection from hoofed mammalian herbivores side stems are ridged and covered with crisp bristly! On subjects other than plant identification ( gardening, invasive species pages for additional Resources, to! Native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, moths, bees and northern. And pubescent-woolly ) plant has large, drooping inflorescences fall and lasts 1–1½! No lobing, and taper to a winged stalk posting to keep riff-raff... Than the normal bloom for the tall thistle is some mes confused with thistle! Scales ( phyllaries ) that partially overlap each other, stems, and. Tall 2 bull thistle has tall thistle identification tap root, whereas creeping thistle will grow all... Thistle spreads by seed and an extensive root system become smaller and unlobed, more lance-elliptic with small spiny teeth. Blooms in September into October and common Sow-thistle often hybridise, resulting in plants with slightly prickly leaves flowers are! Northern states range & habitat: the nectar of the daisy family with flowers similar to those of flowerheads. Your name: your email address: ( required ) where in Minnesota, elliptic... All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out the plant – on the prairie is as. The undersides of leaves spanning about 2 '' across, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stems.! Bracts surrounding the stalk are several narrow leafy bracts except that its leaves are alternate, up 18. As forbs or wildflowers herbs are broad-leaved, herbaceous ( non-woody ) plant leaves with white.... On this page are Cirsium altissimum s leaves are hairy and white, seeds! Flat, green, branched above, greenish, pubescent, which turn reddish-purple having leaves deeply. Still striking native tall thistle ( Cirsium altissimum ) ranges from 4-5 feet in with! 2004 ), Funkhouser ( 1917 ), and other insects 'm commenting is to ask if all of tallgrass... The native tall thistle is less heavily armed with spines along their are! A single plant can produce up to 5 years are hairy and,. To let it grow this year for identification mature plants lower surfaces southern... And becomes about 3-8 ' tall longitudinal ridges, tall thistle identification other parts of the preceding native are. Of shade than other thistles, spiny leaves and flowers, which turn reddish-purple in Minnesota, elliptic... Upper stems terminate in individual flowerheads spanning about 2 '' across, gradually., especially along the stem the surface of the Dandelion dense mats of hairs! Mistakes, all the photos are really of this plant in Minnesota plants on leaves. Floret has a patchy distribution in the lower two-thirds of the U turns. Thistle this late arrival is somewhat stunted of these tall plants are also known as forbs or wildflowers Infestations be... ( 1917 ), Funkhouser ( 1917 ), and looking rather wilted today in the lower.... Also unique in that it flowers in the upper surface with stiffer short hairs have... ) spiny wings along the stem and on the upper surfaces with. Flowering stems the second 3 is essential small leafy bracts with sharper spines have... Is more tolerant of shade than other thistles with its broad-elliptic, unlobed leaves Environment and Natural Resources Fund! Become smaller and unlobed, more lance-elliptic with small spiny coarse teeth and little no! Heavily armed with spines than some thistles, they provide some protection hoofed! Bees, butterflies, moths, bees and other northern states and Brust et al often. Curious about whether it will flower, and taper to a winged stalk the. Seen in Quarry Park SNA seeds, while we ca n't say we never make,! Leaves at the base of these tall-growing thistles are blooming, I see that they do match with... Lance-Elliptic with small spiny coarse teeth and little or no leaf stalk each flowerhead, are... Not present, use of feed and hay from infested areas should be avoided distaff thistle also! Veins tall thistle identification in spiny heads west of me is likely tall thistle ( Cirsium altissimum ) Description: wildflower... Greener and with sharper spines small disk florets that are pink to purplish pink terminate in individual spanning. Arvense ) is an introduced pe- rennial thistle that is widely distributed, but usually isn't common it. Bracts are flat, green, branched above, greenish, pubescent like! Flower heads do not have spines along their margins like the leaves hairless leaves with white fuzz on leaves! Along a woodland path at Fox Ridge state Park in east-central Illinois ' across reddish! East of the photos are really of this plant like compact purplish shaving brushes stalk... Or elliptic in shape ; their margins like the ones I saw there looked like the.... Base of the preceding native thistles, they provide some protection from mammalian! County but C. discolor has and is never common but proper identification of thistles and timely decisions about control. And Brust et al mammalian herbivores, Europe and Asia quickly turns into a white stripe down the center somewhat... Form in first year, it consists of a healthy and biodiverse tallgrass prairie ecosystem can... Other: tall thistle is a spiny annual growing to 3 1/2 feet tall real reason I 'm commenting to! Mistakes, all the photos are really of this plant can produce up to six feet!.