En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
8 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Seed source for thistles in San Marcos TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Where can I buy thistle seeds?

ANSWER:

You know, there are a LOT of thistles. When we searched on "thistle" in our Native Plant Database, we found 29 different plants with "thistle" in the common name. We reduced that to 11 of those found in Texas. Then we searched on "cirsium." Cirsium is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the Asteraceae family, one of several genera known commonly as thistles. This time we got 23 , with 7 of them native to Texas. Cirsium texanum (Texas thistle) is native to the Central Texas area around San Marcos, so we hope that is the one you are looking for. The only problem is, we can't find anywhere to buy the seeds, either. We went to our ever-faithful website for Native American Seeds, and  found not one single Cirsium listed. We tried Centaurea americana (American star-thistle), which also grows in Central Texas, at Native American Seed and found this listing for American Basketflower. Then, we tried Argemone albiflora ssp. texana (bluestem pricklypoppy), and found that listed at NAS as White Prickly Poppy, also native to Central Texas. Finally, there is Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo), which looks like a thistle, but isn't, and is listed at NAS as Eryngo.

Now, what was the question again? Oh, yes, where can you buy thistle seeds? Well, if I can refer again to our webpage on Cirsium texanum (Texas thistle) we learned, under Condition Comments, that you should let the flower progress to seed, providing food for birds. You could probably go out and find some in the fields now that they are blooming, mark them to make sure you're getting the right one, and come back in the Fall and harvest your own. They bloom from April to August, so the seeds should be ripening soon after that. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cirsium texanum

Cirsium texanum

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana

Argemone albiflora ssp. texana

Argemone albiflora ssp. texana

Argemone albiflora ssp. texana

Eryngium leavenworthii

Eryngium leavenworthii

Eryngium leavenworthii

 

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
September 10, 2013 - Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
view the full question and answer

Lingonberry 'Ida' Source for Commercial Production in the Pacific NW
November 08, 2013 - I am having difficulty locating a Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) cultivar named 'Ida'. Where can I purchase this plant for commercial production in the Pacific Northwest?
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Purchase source for non-native Aerva Lanata plant
September 18, 2008 - I am looking for a place where I could buy the Aerva Lanata Plant, would you happen to know?
view the full question and answer

Where can I find Opuntia santa-rita?
February 09, 2009 - Dear Mr. Plants - I'm trying to locate a type of opuntia violacea-santa rita. (Purple prickly pear) Instead of the normal pads, this cactus has rippled pads that almost look like a type of coral. It...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center