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Cirsium scariosum

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About Meadow Thistle (Cirsium scariosum) Cirsium scariosum is a species of thistle known by the common names meadow thistle, elk thistle and dwarf thistle. It is native to much of western North America from Alberta and British Columbia south to Baja California. There are also isolated populations on the Canadian Atlantic Coast, on the Mingan Archipelago in Qu bec. Cirsium scariosum is a variable species grows in a variety of habitat types. It is made up of several geographic races, most of which have been previously classified as species. The races intergrade but their morphologies can also be quite different. This is generally a biennial or perennial herb. It takes three main forms, a stemless, flat rosette with a cluster of flower heads in the center, a mounding form with a short, erect stem, or a fully erect form reaching up to 200 cm (79 in) in height. When there is a stem it is usually fleshy, ridged, and woolly in texture. The leaves are sharply toothed or cut into toothed lobes, lined with spines, and up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) at their longest near the base of the plant. The inflorescence holds several flower heads, each up to 4 centimeters long and 5 cm wide. The flower head is lined with phyllaries which may have spines and teeth and filled with white to purple disc florets but no ray florets. The fruit is a compressed achene a few millimeters long topped with a pappus which may be 3 centimeters in length.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
6.6 ft (2 m)

Flower Color
Pink, Purple

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
13' - 11979'

Annual Precip. ?
4.1" - 120.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 4.08"

Coldest Month ?
18.6° F - 59.9° F

Hottest Month ?
40.8° F - 87.5° F

Humidity ?
0.63 vpd - 38.31 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Elk Thistle, Dwarf 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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