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Native Plant Database

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Cirsium discolor (Field thistle)
Watkins, Mariann

Cirsium discolor

Cirsium discolor (Muhl. ex Willd.) Spreng.

Field thistle

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Carduus discolor

USDA Symbol: cidi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Height 80-200 cm.
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: 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 Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Goldfinches are fond of this thistle seed.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Painted Lady

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special 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
(Vanessa cardui)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL UPL FACU FACU UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 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 resources

USDA: Find Cirsium discolor in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cirsium discolor in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cirsium discolor

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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