Cirsium vulgare (ASTERACEAE) Spearthistle, Scotch Thistle

Weeds to Whack

An annual or biennial large purple-flowered thistle with deeply lobed, prickly leaves each ending in a rigid spine native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. Spiny, sometimes hairless stems, sometimes covered with woolly hair. Leaves woolly underneath and a rough on top. Flower heads are showy, purple, thistle-like flower-heads without obvious petals. They are made up of many small, purple, tubular florets. Seeds have feathery bristles that surround the seed and allow it to be spread long distances by the wind. Declared noxious in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Photo: Matt Tomkins