The PLANTS Database (, 4 January 2016). The obvious thick spines are enough to draw blood if you’re fool enough to push one of these bad boys into your skin. Cut or break off the mature flower head and place in a brown paper sack.  Store inside so the flower heads will dry from any moisture and continue to ripen for a couple of more days or a week. Cirsium arvense. Canada thistle is a native to Eurasia and arrived on our continent probably before the Revolutionary War — most likely mixed in agricultural seed. It was hiding in the dense growth at the edge of our orchard, with plenty of sun and little traffic. A bad weed of crop fields and rangeland farther north, it causes problems in Missouri, too. See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, Common Pokeweed Identification and Management. Flowers and fruit. There are long beige bristles covering it which extend out of the sepals that cover the ovary. Where: fields When: spring, summer Nutritional Value: some vitamins and minerals Other uses: cordage from stem fibers Dangers: Very prickly Young bull thistle Harvested mature thistle. They can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long. Newly emerged leaves are egg-shaped and have spines along the edge. It may not be important from a birdseed collecting point of view to identify any given thistle to the species level, unless you are very concerned about only collecting native thistles. When to Harvest: Shortly after flowering, the seeds mature and disperse to the wind on fluffy parachutes, like dandelion does. Field thistle has leaves white underneath. (When we first moved here, the place was overrun with thistles. Zouhar, Kris 2001. Field thistle is uncommon in the Ozarks but scattered to common elsewhere in the state. Songbird Diet Index. This plant is much different than Canada thistle. If not kept under control, thistle will quickly take over a landscape. Cloud, MN. The pappus will bunch up as you rub and most of the seeds will fall out. Italian thistle Yellow starthistle Bull thistle (Blessed) milkthistle Scotch thistle Tocalote (Malta starthistle) Canada thistle All of these species are found at least one of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, or Tulare Counties. Red to purple, usually solitary flower heads consisting of only disk flowers are 1 to 2 inches wide and encircled by spine-tipped bracts. And for goldfinch, well, it is one of their favorite foods. It has a taste somewhat like a Jerusalem artichoke, but not as nice. National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, St. (Unpublished Report) Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. The root is rich in inulin, a starch that cannot be digested by humans. This plant and the related entities and synonyms italicized and indented above can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Contr… The foliage of bull thistle has stiff hairs on top and a woolly appearance on the bottom; while Canada thistle is smooth on top and either smooth or hairy on the underside. Field Thistle most closely resembles Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum), which also has soft needle-like spines on the floral bracts, hairy stems and white on the underside of leaves. Not common in MO. Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. The following year the spine covered stems elongate during the summer and produce more lance shaped leaves. If you find a stand of thistle in bloom, come back each day for a week and harvest the mature flower heads as they open. There will not be as many as you hoped for. Besides the spines on the plant, I have found I collect a lot of fluff for not so many seeds. seeds rank #41 on our Super Seeds list. I often see one large flower; sometimes up to three (but once there were twenty on a single plant!). Both Circium spp. fields, burned areas, and logged areas. The topmost leaves of the stem also curl upward and hug the ovary. Tall thistle is closely related to field thistle (C. discolor), and the two can hybridize where they grow near each other. Life was at stake. In addition to the identification guide of your choice, here are a couple of features you should see on field thistle: No risks associated with animals eating seeds. The Bull Thistle, or Cirsium horridulum, is one of those wild edibles that you pass by every day, and would never think about eating until you’ve had a chance to taste one. Citation: Guenther, K. (2017, January 12) Field thistle as wildlife food [Web log post.] Nowadays, it's considered an invasive weed. Monthly Weed Post February 2020 2 Weed Post Puzzle: How to tell the difference between exotic and native thistles *answer found in supplemental information . A rather bland flavor, the root is best used mixed with other vegetables. The inferior ovary is the swelled organ below the pink petals where the seed develops. Rosettes up to 3 ft in diameter form the first year. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. Solutions are posted to the . This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. In this episode of the Northwest Forager we'll head out to the farm to forage flowers of the Bull Thistle aka Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. Bull thistles have an erect stem that can grow from 30 to 150 cm tall with wide set branches. The foliage of bull thistle has stiff hairs on top and a woolly appearance on the bottom; while Canada thistle is smooth on top and either smooth or hairy on the underside. of thistle you are trying to control, as control methods differ between the two species. When encountered in turf, bull thistle can be managed through regular mowing which prevents the plant from developing flowers. In Virginia, there are many native thistle species, but as often is the case, the relative likelihood of encountering a non-native species is high. Cirsium discolor, the field thistle, is a North American species of plants in the thistle tribe, within the sunflower family.It is native to thirty-three states in the United States as well four Canadian provinces. New York: Dover Publications. Photos by Matt Lavin, MSU. Wear thick gloves. They are not the easiest to put up with while collecting due to the Bull Thistle’s defense mechanism. The risk of spreading non-native seeds into the larger ecosystem can be reduced if you clean the collected seed of its pappus “parachute” hairs. Native Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum) Native Carolina Thistle (Cirsium carolinianum) Exotic invasive Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Perennial. Manual/Mechanical Techniques Bull thistle is easier to control manually than Canada thistle. Additionally, the flower heads and bracts of bull thistle gradually taper to a point when compared to those of musk thistle. In: Fire Effects Information System, Online]. Seed/ Fruit Size:  The cleaned seed itself (no pappus) is about 3/16 inch wide (2 mm) and 13/32 inch long (4 mm) and reminds me of a banana pepper in shape. Entering your postal code will help us provide news or event updates for your area. The leaves are narrow and deeply incised, with spines on the end of each leaf lobe. bull thistle . Wildlife probably prefer native species: it would stand to reason. Virginia Botanical Associates. Zouhar, Kris. The leaves that follow are longer with pronounced spiny lobes. But thistle is an easy to identify genus and an easy to find plant. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). The white pappus “parachute”or “hair”, is about ¾ inch long (20+ mm). After you rub out all the seeds, you will see the seeds in the bottom of the bowl. Thistle was once a revered plant and flower.