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

Locating Rosa rugosa for Massachusetts
May 09, 2006 - There is a shrub that grows out on the Cape especially at the beach. I have always called it Beach Rose and I have heard other people call it a Beach Plum. However, the most recent picture of a Beac...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Paronychia virginica in Virginia
May 16, 2007 - Greetings, I noticed that you have Paronychia virginica for sale in your spring plant sale. Despite the plant sharing the name of my fair state, I've been unable to find a source for it. Given...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americana) in Pennsylvania
December 01, 2005 - I am interested in purchasing some Strawberry bush plants but I am having problems finding where I can purchase them. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Pictures and sources for black trilliums
June 10, 2008 - Do you have pictures and/or sources for Black Trilliums?
view the full question and answer

Native replacements for English ivy in Atlanta
April 17, 2009 - What to plant instead of English Ivy in Atlanta, Georgia. We have a nice lot with trees in back of our lot. To protect our trees there I'm clearing out the ubiquitous English ivy (lots of gardens i...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center