Cirsium discolor (Muhl. ex Willd.) Spreng.
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Synonym(s): Carduus discolor
USDA Symbol: CIDI
Field Thistle is a member of the aster family (family Asteraceae) which includes herbs, sometimes shrubs or vines, rarely trees, with simple or compound, alternate or opposite leaves. Flowers small, but organized into larger heads resembling a single, radially symmetrical flower cupped by a ring of green bracts. Flower-like heads: tiny, radially symmetrical central flowers form the disk; larger flowers around the edge, the rays, strap-shaped and resembling petals; however, all flowers in one had may be disk flowers or rays.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Biennial
Size Notes: Height 80-200 cm.
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , QC
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
BenefitUse Wildlife: Goldfinches are fond of this thistle seed.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Painted Lady
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Cirsium discolor is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Painted Lady |
Learn more at BAMONA
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cirsium discolor in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cirsium discolor in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cirsium discolor
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff