Each plant produces 70 to 300 flowers and up to 40,000 seeds annually. thistles also feed on bull thistle. It has spiny-winged stems, and its flowers are classic onion-shaped thistle flowers. Prather. This food source is increasingly important as many of our pollinating insect populations are in decline. Culturally we really just don't like thistles. 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 . 80% to 90% of seeds remain viable for five years and they are spread far and wide by water, wind, wildlife, and human activity. Though bull thistle is difficult to contain, frequent mowing before it flowers can help keep it under control. In the case of invasive non-native invasive thistles, the dislike makes sense. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) (Figure 2) has been present in Oklahoma for more than 40 years and occurs statewide. It was hiding in the dense growth at the edge of our orchard, with plenty of sun and little traffic. Onopordum acanthium. ... Scotch thistle is a slow-growing biennial. Bull thistle leaves are alternate, pinnately cut, (lance-shaped) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. 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. For example, non-native bull thistle and native tall thistle share over 80% of their herbivore community. Milk thistle was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first century A.D. Scotch thistle is found in any type of habitat but normally establishes quickly in disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as cheatgrass. It can also be found in over-grazed sites, roadsides, and riparian areas. 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. Prevalence and impact of the crown fly, Botanophila spinosa, on its host thistle, Onopordum acanthium, in southern France. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. 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. Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. 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 2C. 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. The Bull thistle was used by early humans as a warm medicinal tea. 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. Overview Information Scotch thistle is a plant. Acta Oecologica 24(2):77-86. 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. 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. Identify Scotch thistle by its rich purple blooms and the thick, spiky hairs on its leaves. It is much more common in counties on the east side of the Cascades. 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. Many of these herbivorous insects that feed on native thistles also feed on non-native thistles and may help suppress thistle invasions. Description . 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. 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. Canada thistle has been on the Noxious Weed List since 1873. 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. Native thistles are usually found as single plants or in small clumps rather than the expansive stands often formed by non-native thistles. In comparison, bull thistle has basal leaves and leaves that are smooth to sparsely woolly below; giving a green appearance. Nebraska Extension Acreage Team Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Lincoln, NE 68528, Phone: (402) 441-7180 Email: sbrowning2@unl.edu. Question: Is a thistle the same as a nettle, and do they both sting? 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. 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. Schuster, M., and T.S. Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. 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. This article focuses on why we should keep native thistles around and start thinking of them as "wildflowers" rather than "weeds". Cattle can be trained to eat Canada thistle and other weeds. 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. 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. Bull thistle gene… Most of the non-natives have hairless or sparsely haired leaves. Populations of native thistles can act as a reservoir of these insect herbivores and help suppress invasions of non-native thistles. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Bull thistle is a biennial that forms a rosette the first year. Because control is not required in the county, it is on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King County. Like nettles, thistles have been prescribed for toothaches, as a restorative tonic, and to impart warmth through their counterirritant action. The leaf margins of a flowering bull thistle plant (a) are tipped with spines, and the stems have spiny wings. She also has some experience with habitat improvement projects. The Silybum marianum plant goes by many different names, including Scotch thistle, holy thistle, Mary thistle, variegated thistle, and milk thistle. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Flowers are larger than Canada thistle, developing to 1 inch tall and wide. It can form huge monocultures and is very difficult to eradicate. Thistles. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) has lobed leaves with sword-shaped sections, and scary spines at the tips. Unfortunately, some of that effort may be unnecessary since it is often directed at eradicating all thistles indiscriminately. 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 . Scotch thistle, Gary Stone photo. Learn more at. All biennial thistles considered noxious are native to Europe or Eurasia, and were introduced into North America as seed contaminants. 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… The goldfinch is particularly attracted to the thistle. 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. Bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a variety of soil types and conditions. Small mammals such as thirteen-lined ground squirrels, mice, rabbits, and moles also feed on thistles. Photos by Matt Lavin, MSU. Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly on Flodman's thistle. Figure 2A. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a GIS graduate certificate. Native thistle provide important habitat and food sources for native fauna. Those pink or purple flowered prickly plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) that tend to evoke feelings of antagonism and strong dislike. 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 wasn’t un l 1959 that the rapid infesta on rate of musk thistle brought out the public concern of thistles in Nebraska. Scotch thistle is … Custom programming and server maintenance by. FIGURE 4. Public and private landowners are not required to control infestations of bull thistle that occur on their property in King County. 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. The spread of non-native thistles presents environmental and agricultural problems that people expend great effort to address. Musk thistle (Carduus nutans), See 4D and 5D on pages 4 and 5. 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. Bull thistle is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988. The large flower heads and flower density of many native thistles encourages greater visitation by pollinators. ---Description---It is a biennial, flowering in late summer and autumn. Figure 2B. Erin is stationed in Chadron, Nebraska. 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. 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. A lot of information is available about the need to get rid of invasive thistles and how to do it. Plumeless and Scotch thistles are listed as noxious weeds in both Arizona and New Mexico. They can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long. Scotch thistle has been found growing in a number of western Washington counties but the sites are generally small and isolated. Thistles are also an important resource for native herbivorous insects that feed on their leaves, stems, and flowers. Foliage is hairy, lobed with prickles, and has a dark bluish-green color.. Musk thistle and bull thistle have been listed as noxious weeds only in … 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. 2003. 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. The Bull thistle also provides seeds to granivores (consumers of grains and seeds) such as goldfinches. This thistle doesn't have the milky striping, and its leaves are hairier than Italian or milk thistle. Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum), See 3A and 6A on pages 3 and 6. Landowners and homeowners realize this plant was a serious problem and needed to be controlled. Thistle Identification Telling thistle species apart can be difficult. 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. Yellowspine . … Native thistles also provide nesting sites for cavity nesting bees, which are known to use the stalks of thistles. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014]. Legend has it that at some point during a 13. 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). 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. Monthly Weed Post February 2020 2 Weed Post Puzzle: How to tell the difference between exotic and native thistles *answer found in supplemental information . Identification •Many species start as a basal rosette in fall Nettles are commonly of the family Urticaceae, and their tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them the name stinging nettle. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistle (left to right). bull thistle J. DiTomaso, bugwood.org Scotch thistle J. Randall, bugwood.org. In contrast, many pasture weeds are perennials which, once they have germinated, then remain alive for many years afterwards due to vegetative reproduction. It is used as medicine. Biennial thistles spread only by seed (achenes) that are produced in great number by all the noxious species, ran… 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 One variety, the Scotch thistle, sports purple flowers and prickly leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland. But that’s where the resemblance ends. Not only does the goldfinch pull the seeds out to eat; it also uses the thistle down (the pappus) to line its nest. Thistles are of the family Asteraceae. 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. Scotch thistle (Ono-pordum acanthium), See 4E and 5E on pages 4 and 5. Scotch thistle Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW 569. Not common in MO. Scotch Thistle … For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Contro… One variety, the Scotch thistle, sports purple flowers and prickly leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland. 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. Tea made from Canada thistle leaves has been used as a diuretic as well as for treatment of tuberculosis. Open Fields and Waters land west of Ainsworth, Brown County. This plant often grows as a biennial. Yellow thistle (Cir-sium horridulum), See 3C and 6C on pages 3 and 6. Coordinating Wildlife Biologist. 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. Erect foliage and flower stems are formed the second year. Habitat. Image from NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The Value of Native Thistles It rarely reaches infestation levels that justify treatment, probably because the insects that feed on native Circium spp. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistles are annual and biennial nonnative plants in the sunflower family that are considered invasive. 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