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Marcus, Joseph A.
Centaurea americana Nutt.
American star-thistle, Basket-Flower, Star thistle, Shaving brush, American basket-flower
USDA Symbol: ceam2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
American basket-flower is a 1 1/2-5 ft. annual with a stout, leafy, much-branched stem and lavender-pink, filamentous flower heads with cream-colored centers. The flower heads are 4-5 in. wide and are subtended by fringed bracts. The plant looks similar to the thistles but lacks their prickly characteristics
The name basket flower refers to the stiff, straw-colored bracts just beneath the flower head, which are divided at the tip into long, sharp teeth.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun
AR , AZ , IA , IL , KS , MO , NM , NY , OK , RI , SC , TX , WI Native Distribution:
S.w. MO & e. KS, s. to LA, e. AZ & n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Woodlands edge, Opening, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Dry to mesic soils. Sandy Loam, Clay Loam, Medium Loam.
Conditions Comments: Has a sweet, honey fragrance and makes brilliant cut flowers. The plant resembles the thistles but lacks their prickly characteristics. This is a showy, easily cultivated wildflower.
BenefitUse Ornamental: This is a showy, easily cultivated wildflower.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Direct seed from late summer through fall.
Seed Collection: Collect seed early summer.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
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Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0016
Collected May 17, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. BerryNPSOT 0399
Collected Jun 1, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0055
Collected May 18, 1990 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-645
Collected 2008-06-17 in Burnet County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff