Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Compositae
Cirsium vulgare

Citation: Ten., Fl. Napolit. 5:209 (1835-36). Spear thistle.

Synonymy: Carduus vulgaris Savi, Fl. Pis. 2:241 (1798); C. lanceolatus L., Sp. Pl. 821 (1753); Cirsium lanceolatum (L.)Scop., Fl. Carniolica edn 2, 2:130 (1772) non Hill.

Common name: None

Biennial herb to 1.5 m high; stems erect, branched, with discontinuous spiny wings, cobwebby; basal leaves obovate to lanceolate, narrowed at the base, dentate to pinnatipartite, to 30 cm long, with a spiny margin, dark-green and hispid above, whitewoolly below; cauline leaves similar, pinnatipartite with narrowly triangular spine-tipped lobes, decurrent, 4-25 cm long.

Capitula 1-3 at the end of each branch, 20-40 mm long, containing bisexual florets; involucre campanulate; bracts narrowly lanceolate, the outer ones multiseriate, sparsely or densely cobwebby, tipped with spreading to recurved spines; the inner ones linear, acute, scarious; corolla 25-35 mm long, purple.

Achenes 3.5-5 mm long, smooth, pale-brown; pappus 20-30 mm long.

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 723.

Distribution:  On pastures, waste land, roadsides and arable land, particularly on heavy soils.

S.Aust.: GT, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE.   All States.   Native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: Nov. — Feb.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: A serious weed of pastures, where it lowers carrying capacity.

Author: Not yet available

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