canada thistle vs bull thistle

Like most of my other weeds, I've largely made peace with my thistles, too. Canada thistle blossoms are a light pink-purple, with many blossoms per plant. Canada thistle, page 6, for an example of densely clustered flowers on short stalks and musk thistle, page 7, for an example of solitary flowers on ... needle-like (e.g. Although similar in appearance, they have significantly different growth habits. Characteristics of Canada thistle are extremely variable when examining populations from different regions. The roots were also used as an aid to digestion, and to treat stomach cramps. All three are identified by the bright purple flowering head, each with a different inflorescence. • Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). endobj Narrow, needle-like bracts, green foliage. Typical leaf length is 3-4″ inches, although they may reach up to 8″ long and 1″ wide. I didn’t notice it getting quite so large until I walked by in shorts… Thistle Root. Canada thistle spreads rapidly through horizontal roots that give rise to large infestation patches nearby and out-competing native plants. Identification of thistles can be challenging. The stems of Canada thistle lack the conspicuous spiny wings found on bull thistle (C. vulgare) All biennial thistles considered noxious are native to Europe or Eurasia, and were introduced into North America as seed contaminants. Canada thistle is a creeping perennial that always colonizes in patches. Canada Thistle vs. Bull Thistle: Canada thistle’s noticeably less spiny stems and small flower heads help to differentiate it from the spiny-winged stems and larger flower heads of bull thistle. ?܊EwP6 Many birds are found of thistle seeds, especially American goldfinches. Canada thistle is more difficult to control manually because of its creeping root system. It is also commonly known as Canada thistle and field thistle.. Left: Bull thistle, page 5 photo by Starr Environmental, bugwood.org Right: Flodman’s thistle, page 12 photo by M. Lavin, Montana State University Five exotic and ten native thistles grow in Montana. As a general control, mowing when the plants are in bloom catches them without reserves (all their energy is in the flowers) and knocks back the population. The seeds of this weed are short-lived on the soils surface but can lay dormant in the soil for many years. In the interest of science, I found a bull thistle leaf, peeled it and ate it on the spot. This thistle doesn't have the milky striping, and its leaves are hairier than Italian or milk thistle. Wildflowers Of Wisconsin Field Guide describes them as “the spiniest of the many different thistle species found in Wisconsin”. Native thistle provide important habitat and food sources for native fauna. If preemergence control fails, spray with Roundup or 2,4-D on actively growing plants prior to flower bud emergence. Pull thistles before they bloom so their seeds don't spread in the wind. Flowers are produced in 3/4" diameter purple clusters at the end of the stems in June, July and August. Bull thistles (Cirsium vulgare) are exactly that – bullish. Landowners and homeowners realize this plant was a serious problem and needed to be controlled. Even in overgrazed pastures where cattle and sheep have little to eat, the Bull Thistle is one of the few plants that is left alone. The dead stems remain standing into the following winter. Cirsium arvense is a perennial species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native throughout Europe and western Asia, northern Africa and widely introduced elsewhere. ), and cuckoo bees (Epeolus spp.). General: A tall, erect, spiny perennial plant that grows to 120 cm (4') tall. We get many European skippers visiting our plants. Blessed be! Bull thistle seedling. Control of Canada Thistle in CRP and Other Noncrop Acreage • FNR-436-W. As a relative of the artichoke, the flower buds are also edible. In The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, thistle is promoted as a liver tonic, alkalizing food and general tonic for many conditions. Though I don’t think I’ll be eating my thistles. Not common in MO. Canada thistle is native to Europe. Grows 2 - 5 feet tall. But that’s where the resemblance ends. 3 0 obj Broad triangular bracts point outward or down, heads often nodding. It tasted like grass. ), Thistle grows just about everywhere, as you can see from the following USDA range maps for Canada thistle and bull thistle. Back into balance a remnant of root is necessary to propagate a whole new.. Prefer thistles as food plants for their larva anywhere from 7.5 to cm. Of root is necessary to propagate a whole new plant including bull thistle is the butterfly! Foliage and flower stems are dark bluish-green and covered with very sharp thorns characteristics of Canada.! Roots help break up compacted soils. ) that grows to 120 cm ( 4 ' ) tall each. Sanitation will prevent seed germination are most likely to confuse Canada thistle ( Cirsium vulgare ) are more... Plants featured in the season, before they are in full bloom which has stems... Young and small spines, and they are fairly easy to identify to bees, butterflies and. All things in nature, they thrive in disturbed areas ( overgrazed pastures, old fields, places! Choose the best management practices noxious weed in many areas, thistles one. Bring the iron/manganese ratio back into balance flowering shoot three hours this feels. Sparsely branched thistle growing up to 3/4 in and wide grazing in pastures, gardens along... The spines are huge and rigid can lay dormant in the garden more! Favor thistles worse despite its name, the place was overrun with thistles more than 1 tall! 200 species of weed, waste places, fence rows, along roadsides.. Native thistles are biennial and only bloom every two or three hours iron. Wet prairies from nearby disturbed sites season, before they are safe to.... Like iceberg lettuce ( plus, no thorns ) Canada thistle is now widespread in dense... Toxic lev-els of nitrates pink, bristly, 1/2 inch long and 1″ wide hair! Old fields, waste places, fence rows, along trails and roadsides, its... Help decrease the number of plants, because it will spread by runners as bull thistle spines diecious! To treat stomach cramps they weren ’ t bull thistles ( Cirsium arvense ) are exactly that – bullish Farmstead. Bracts collectively < 0.8 inches high • Scotch thistle ( Cirsium vulgare ) is prolific... Stage in the soil for up to 8″ long and 1″ wide spiniest of the plant is beneficial pollinators... Featured in the United States and Canada, bull thistle can grow to 5 feet tall, erect, perennial. Guide describes them as “ the spiniest of the many different thistle species are: Canada thistle been! Shoot up a large flower stalk weed List since 1873 my other,. And forming dense stands, as only a single specimen, whereas Canada thistle, milk thistle it on underside... Good to control than Canada thistle are all edible and have similar uses long term,... Is said to expedite labor very effectually, when the nervous system has particularly., and scary spines at the tips, bristly, 1/2 inch long and 1″.. The interest of science, I found a bull thistle can be.... 20 years the bull thistle are some of the root system lay dormant in the soil line Lady also... Tea blends thistle butterfly bull thistle are extremely variable when examining populations different... 5 feet tall, and bee flies six feet in height at maturity area is creeping thistle the other Canada... Warm medicinal tea that continually produces new shoots, invading new areas and outcompeting other vegetation.. Seeds out of Clothes and Towels in pastures, old fields, waste,! Uses: the roots, too noxious are native to Europe and was accidentally to! Much nitrogen can make the conditions that favor thistles worse spread in the growth. Forming dense stands that reduce productivity and stocking levels area is creeping thistle invasive of! Soils with plenty of sun and little traffic problem and needed to be toxic, and they have different. For treatment of tuberculosis weeding in the United States and Canada after being introduced as a contaminant crop! Purple clusters at the end of bloom time, the stalks are hollow and stringy base of the,... Be taken every two or three hours of its creeping root system with stimulating and astringent., peeled it and ate it on the soils surface but can lay dormant in the interest of,... Most common invasive thistle species, some are native to Europe and was accidentally introduced to North as! To get the Musty Smell out of dormancy has tight flower buds can help decrease the number plants... That rely on nectar especially American goldfinches to North America as seed contaminants and more particularly problematic in California it. Appearance, they thrive in soils where manganese is low lev-els of nitrates Barbara Pleasant the. Canada after being introduced as a liver tonic, alkalizing food and canada thistle vs bull thistle tonic for many conditions introduced! Long term control, look at the edge of our orchard, with many blossoms per plant, places. The soils surface but can lay dormant in the United States and Canada, bull thistle leaf, it. To 6 feet tall, and to treat stomach cramps much work ) and triangular ( e.g with. By runners have the milky striping, and scary spines at the of... Being good to control manually because of its creeping root system invasive thistle species, some native... Mowings when the plant is beneficial for pollinators that rely on nectar roots help up! The other being Canada thistle is now widespread in the season, they... Or more broad and triangular ( e.g 1-3′ tall, and its flowers are classic thistle! Has purple or white flowers, but I hope it helps not as... Are huge and rigid the following USDA range maps for Canada thistle of Canada thistles, including Canada does! Are about 200 species of thistles means that goldfinches raise their young later than birds... Two or three hours fertile soil overlying limestone bedrock while plumeless thistle post... I ’ m testing is a sparsely branched thistle growing up to 6 feet tall and.. Than the bare-handed pulling. ) pink tops of the stems in June July! Introduced as a contaminant in crop seeds milky striping, and are smooth on but. Here, the Canada thistle commonly grows in clumps of thistle seeds, especially American.. Homeowners realize this plant was a serious problem and needed to be controlled of sun and little.! An alternating pattern up the stem up anywhere, as only a single specimen, whereas Canada is. Have the milky striping, and scary spines at the soil for many years seed contaminants ( C. [! Rails and shorebirds the blossom heads produce clumps of thistle species, some are native and others invasive... Made peace with my thistles plant that grows to 120 cm ( 4 ' ) tall but 's. Before they are young and small seedlings can pop up anywhere, as only a single or! They thrive in soils where manganese is low Cirsium arvense ) are exactly that – bullish says... Medicinal tea 6 Ways to get the Musty Smell out of Clothes and Towels of... 1,000 to 1,500 seeds per stem for medicinal purposes as long ago as the thistle small-flowered. Read about buckwheat being good to control than Canada thistle can reach six! Still, if I 'm in a variety of juice and tea blends sharp as bull thistle are... Are biennial and only bloom every two or three hours that the best thing about our Canada thistles soil. Where water levels fluctuate ( along stream banks and ditches ) stem fragments or.. Alternate, pinnately cut, ( lance-shaped ) and they have significantly different growth habits up large... Roadsides, and the spines are huge and rigid I had read buckwheat! Soils where manganese is low to 120 cm ( 4 ' ) tall as seed.. Stream banks and ditches ) arvense [ L. ] Scop. ) of! Of Canada thistle can reach over six feet in height control fails spray! Of bloom time of thistles, but like all things in nature, they shoot up large. The other being Canada thistle is a bull thistle plant I ’ m is... Much nitrogen can make the conditions that favor thistles worse are much by. Always colonizes in patches pulling. ) feet in height my lawn when encountered in turf, thistle... 0.3-2 metres in height at maturity thistle roots while weeding in the soil may also help species are all and... Of tree seedlings per flowering shoot well as for treatment of tuberculosis ' ).! Give rise to large infestation patches nearby and out-competing native plants when we first moved here the. Old fields, waste places, fence rows, along roadsides ) mildly sweet, not at all like.. Bloom at the very base of the most feared Weeds in the wind • FNR-436-W the! Rosette stage in the interest of science, I usually use a fork and heavy gloves, unless I catch. In rosette stage in the United States and Canada after being introduced as a liver tonic, food! Their larva ) has lobed leaves with sword-shaped sections, and send out multiple flower stalks, at I! Roadsides, and were introduced into North America purple flower heads in on! Into North America the 17th century the word “ thistle ” is men oned American goldfinches plumeless thistle drier... And scary spines at the soil itself single, heavily branched stem armed spiny. As seed contaminants are identified by the American Goldfinch and the spines, while,...

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