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Cirsium brevistylum

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About Indian Thistle (Cirsium brevistylum) Cirsium brevistylum is a species of thistle known by the common names Indian thistle and clustered thistle. It is native to western North America from southwestern British Columbia to California, where it grows in moist areas in many types of habitat, from mountain forests to chaparral and coastal marshes. This native thistle is annual or biennial, reaching two meters in height and known to exceed three meters at times. There is usually a single stem which may branch toward the top and is coated in hairs and webby fibers. The leaves are deeply cut into many lobes lined with twisted teeth, the longest leaves near the base of the plant reaching about 25 centimeters long. The leaves are borne on winged petioles with many spines. The flower cluster bears one to many flower heads, both at the ends of the stem branches and in the leaf axils. The flower head reaches about 3 centimeters long by 4 wide and is lined with cobwebby, bristly, spine-tipped phyllaries. The flower head is packed with white or pink flowers about 2 centimeters long. The fruit is a brown achene a few millimeters long topped with a pappus one to two centimeters in length.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
6.6 - 9.8 ft (2 - 3 m)

Flower Color
Pink, Purple

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist places

Part Shade

Elevation ?
-3' - 2290'

Annual Precip. ?
11.8" - 85.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.33"

Coldest Month ?
40.6° F - 55.8° F

Hottest Month ?
58.6° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.02 vpd - 26.19 vpd

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Clustered Thistle

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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