CIRSIUM THISTLE

Aster - ASTERACEAE (Compositae) SUNFLOWER FAMILY


Taprooted annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial herb that flowers once, or multi-flower perennial herb with taprooted rosettes arising from runner roots or from simple to branched caudex; glabrous to cobwebby or ± densely tomentose with long, fine, slender hairs, sometimes with thicker multicellular, jointed hairs that often appear crinkled, shining, iridescent when dry. Stem: generally erect. Leaf: basal and proximal cauline generally tapered or ± wing-petioled, generally wavy-margined, dentate to generally pinnately lobed and ± dentate, lobes and teeth spine-tipped, generally spiny-ciliate, faces glabrous to tomentose, especially abaxially; distal generally sessile, ± reduced. Inflorescence: heads discoid, 1–many, center head of cluster generally larger, generally erect; involucre ± cylindric to ovoid, spheric, or bell-shaped, persistent when dry; phyllaries many, graduated in 5–20 series, generally entire (spiny-ciliate or with irregularly toothed or cut scarious margin or distal appendage), outer and middle generally spine-tipped, in some species midrib with sticky-resinous ridge (milky when fresh, dark when dry, occasionally very narrow); inner phyllaries generally narrow, flat, tips straight or twisted; receptacle flat, long-bristly, epaleate. Flower: ± many, generally bisexual (unisexual in Cirsium arvense); corolla ± radial, white to red or purple, tube long, narrowly cylindric, throat cylindric, lobes linear; anther tube colored same as corolla or not, anther base sharply sagittate, tip linear or oblong; style generally exserted, tip cylindric, branches very short. Fruit: ovoid, thick or ± compressed, straw-colored or tan to dark brown, glabrous; attachment scar slightly angled; pappus bristles many, ± flattened proximally, plumose, weakly fused at base, often deciduous in ring, white to brown.
± 200 species: North America, Eurasia. (Greek: thistle) [Keil 2006 FNANM 19:95–164] Taxa difficult, variable, incompletely differentiated, hybridize. Exceptional white-flowered plants occur in most taxa with pigmented corollas; these generally not treated in key.
Unabridged references: [Kelch & Baldwin 2003 Molec Ecol 12:141–151]
Unabridged note: Native thistles are part of an apparently actively evolving group of species with many geog and ecological races and growth forms. Morphologically divergent species often are able to hybridize; unrecognized hybridization or intergradation often complicates identification. Stature, growth form, and proportions are subject to environmental influence.

[Jepson]


Local Species;

  1. Cirsium arvense - Canada thistle [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  2. Cirsium brevistylum - Short-styled thistle [E-flora][PCBC]
  3. Cirsium edule var macounii - Edible thistle [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  4. Cirsium palustre - Marsh thistle [E-flora]
  5. Cirsium vulgare - Bull thistle [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]

TAXONOMIC KEY TO CIRSIUM

1. Heads small; involucres 1-2 (rarely 2.5) cm tall; plants introduced.

2. Stems distinctly spiny-winged; plants with perfect flowers Cirsium palustre
2. Stems not conspicuously spiny-winged; plants partly of male and female flowers........ Cirsium arvense

1. Heads large; involucres more than 2 cm tall; plants native (except C. vulgare).

3. Leaves bristly-spiny above, stems distinctly spiny-winged............ Cirsium vulgare
3. Leaves cobwebby to loosely woolly-hairy, woolly or nearly glabrous above, stems not spiny-winged.
4. Pappus of mature seeds exceeding the corollas by 1-10 mm.............. C. foliosum
4. Pappus of mature seeds shorter than the corollas.
5. Heads large; involucres 3-5 cm tall........... C. drummondii
5. Heads small; involucres less than 3 cm tall.

6. Outer involucral bracts more than 2 mm wide at base, slightly if at all hairy and if so, then mainly marginal.

7. Outer involucral bracts strongly glandular; lowermost leaves deeply pinnately lobed more than 1/2 the width of the blade.............. C. undulatum
7. Outer involucral bracts without glands; lowermost leaves shallowly pinnately lobed to 1/2 or less the width of the blade............... C. scariosum

6. Outer involucral bracts less than 2 mm wide at base, densely cobwebby.

8. Corollas white or creamy-white, rarely pinkish; involucral bracts greenish............. C. hookerianum
8. Corollas purplish-red to purplish-pink; outer involucral bracts purplish.
9. Styles exceeding the corollas by at least 3 mm; achenes 5-6.5 mm long; leaves usually lobed more than 1/2 the width of the blade.............. Cirsium edule
9. Styles nearly equal to or exceeding the corollas by only 1.5 mm; achenes 4-4.5 mm long; leaves usually lobed less than 1/2 the width of the blade................. C. brevistylum

[E-flora]


[IFBC-E-flora]

Short-Styled Thistle - Cirsium brevistylum

  • Family: Aster [E-flora]

[E-flora]

Habitat / Range
Moist meadows and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in coastal and extreme S BC; S to ID, MT and CA. [IFBC-E-flora]
[IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]


Identification


Edible Uses

Other Uses


Cirsium edule var macounii - Edible thistle

Family: Aster [E-flora]
Other Names: [E-flora]

[IFBC-E-flora]

[E-flora]

Habitat / Range
Moist to mesic meadows, avalanche tracks and open forests in the upper montane to lower alpine zones; frequent throughout BC; S to N OR. [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Identification
Cirsium edule is a PERENNIAL growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. [PFAF]

SUBTAXA PRESENT IN BC
Cirsium edule var. macounii [E-flora]

  • General: Stout biennial or perennial herb from a taproot; stems ribbed, sparsely to moderately hairy, simple to branched, 0.3-2.0 m tall. [IFBC-E-flora]
  • Leaves: Basal leaves broadly lanceolate, up to 40 cm long, green to dark green above, glabrous or sparsely hairy above and below, irregularly lobed or coarsely toothed, usually more than 1/2 the width of the leaf blade, margins of the segments with 3-5 slender, yellow spines; stem leaves narrowly elliptic or oblong, 10-16 cm long, alternate, otherwise similar to the basal, uppermost reduced. [IFBC-E-flora]
  • Flowers: Heads solitary to many in small clusters at the ends of branches, nodding when young; involucres egg-shaped, 2-4 cm tall; involucral bracts linear-lanceolate, moderately to densely cobwebby, not much graduated, outer ones tapering to a prominent 1-2 mm spine, innermost unarmed; disk flowers purplish-pink, 12-24 mm long; styles exceeding the flowers by 3-8 mm.[IFBC-E-flora]
  • Fruits: Achenes prismatic, several-nerved, glabrous, purplish-black; pappus buff or whitish, feathery bristles.[IFBC-E-flora]

Edible Uses

Other Uses


Cultivation
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil in a sunny position[200]. A monocarpic species, it grows for a number of years without flowering but then dies after flowering[60].[PFAF]

Propagation
Seed - sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 8 weeks at 20°c.[PFAF]

[IFBC-E-flora]

Cirsium palustre - marsh thistle

[E-flora]

Identification

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and forest openings in the lowland zone; infrequent throughout BC south of 55degreeN; introduced from Europe. [IFBC-E-flora]


Edible Uses

Other Uses


Cirsium Sp. Uses


Species mentioned: Cirsium Spp.[Harrington][Nyerges]


Hazards

As far as we know any species of thistle can be used as food if taken in the right stage and suitably prepared. [Harrington]

When handling or gathering parts of the thistle plant, protect your hands from the sharp spines with something, such as a pair of gloves, a rag, or a brown paper bag. [Nyerges]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Phytochemicals

Cultivation & Propagation


References