Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Location of source for live white violets native to Virginia
March 20, 2006 - Dear Ms. Pants, I am in Austin & would like to buy a quantity of small live plants for decorative table top use in April, 2006. I need any variety of the wild woodlands-loving white violets that are n...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-Texas native pin cherry for Texas
February 28, 2006 - Dear Ms. Smarty Plants, I learned that the fire cherry/ pin cherry is a very hardy tree, and that it is very drought resistant. I live in zone 7, on black land, which becomes very dry in the summer. ...
view the full question and answer

Resources for a green roof project from Wayne PA
April 14, 2013 - Hello! I am researching a project to create a native wildflower/ turf mix for a green roof. I would ideally like to grow it as a sod mat, and then install it in rolls. I am currently working as an i...
view the full question and answer

Source for Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana)
May 19, 2006 - Hello, I am in search of some Texas Hawthorne (Crateagus texana). Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Searching for Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (copperleaf)
April 06, 2015 - Some species of Acalypha are natives, but the one I'm looking for is Copper Plant or Acalypha amentacea/wilkesiana. Can you give me a source where I can order seed? When I was kid working at a local ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.