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

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Wednesday - June 01, 2011

From: Little Elm, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identity of yellow thistle-like plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I see this flower along the road but I can't seem to find it on your website. It looks like a yellow thistle and it is a panicle and a head. It is about a foot tall. Do you know what it's name is? Cordially.

ANSWER:

I think the best bet for your plant that looks like a yellow thistle is Centaurea melitensis (Malta star-thistle).  You won't find it in our Native Plant Database since it is a non-native invasive plant introduced from Europe and North Africa.  It has been reported from many states and provinces in North America.  Although it hasn't been reported specifically from Denton County, it has been reported from nearby Ellis County.  Here are more photos.

There is a native thistle, Cirsium horridulum (Yellow thistle), that you will find in our database.  It has been reported in Denton County.  It isn't always yellow, however, and usually grows considerably taller than one foot.  Here are some photos of this thistle with yellow, rather than pink, blossoms.

If one of these isn't the plant you have seen, you can find links on our Plant Identification page to plant forums where you can submit photos (if you have them) for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Yellow thistle
Cirsium horridulum

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