Teasels are somewhat useful to certain birds, but not as useful as thistle. Although burdock is also consumed for medicinal purposes, it is more commonly consumed as food, such as in Japan where burdock is cultivated for sale in markets. Life was at stake. Retrieved: readers supply the date, from http://wildfoods4wildlife.com. As the stem gets thicker, the wings start drying and disappearing. 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. Bull thistles (Cirsium vulgare) are exactly that – bullish. If viewed from the side it looks a little like a green pineapple (to me). Pasture thistle (C. pumilum), unlike field thistle, doesn’t produce very many flowers. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Tall thistle is closely related to field thistle (C. discolor), and the two can hybridize where they grow near each other. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Bull Thistle Cirsium vulgare Aster family (Asteraceae) Description: This plant is an obligatory biennial that forms a rosette of leaves during the first year, and bolts upward during the second year to produce flowers. The exact means of introduction are largely unknown, but it is speculated that they were brought over in farm seeds. The Bull Thistle can take over a field in a few short years. Habitat: Perennial sow-thistle occurs throughout Ontario in cultivated fields, pastures, meadows, woodland, waste places, roadsides, gardens and occasionally in lawns. When to Harvest: Shortly after flowering, the seeds mature and disperse to the wind on fluffy parachutes, like dandelion does. 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. Both Circium spp. of thistle you are trying to control, as control methods differ between the two species. fields, burned areas, and logged areas. 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. (Accessed January 2016). After dry, to clean the seed out of the flower head, hold the flower head (now brown, dried sepals) in one rubber-gloved hand (to avoid the prickles)and pinch the fluffy pappus (white feathery silky fluff)  with your other hand and pull it straight out  and place it in a large bowl. Bull thistle reproduces only from seeds which germinate in the spring. (When we first moved here, the place was overrun with thistles. If you pull out the pappus and there is no seed attached, then you can break the flower head in half after removing all the fluff and see if you can scrape out the seed that might still be lodged in the ovary. Bull thistle has leaves green on both sides. Cirsium vulgare. LEARN HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, Coronavirus: Information and resources for the Extension Community, Photo: Loke T. Kok, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org, bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare. If so, be aware that there are some species near you that may be threatened or endangered. 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. Knapweed seeds are also eaten by birds. Cloud, MN. Many folks can recognize the spiny thistle plants of summer field and roadside. Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. But this native species—field thistle— really stands out as a very tall species, and towers over my head at about 8 feet. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistle (left to right). (1951). Not common in MO. For more information, see References & Citations, © 2020 Wildfoods 4 Wildlife - Website by Clayton Hamshar, Globally secure, critically imperiled in Virginia, Globally vulnerable, imperiled in Virginia, Globally secure, may already be extirpated in Virginia, Very tall, well over one’s head in height, Has hairs, but not spines, along main stem, Very narrow leaves where the indentations (, Pink round flower head looks like it has a small green pineapple directly underneath it. If not kept under control, thistle will quickly take over a landscape. Rosettes up to 3 ft in diameter form the first year. New York: Dover Publications. Comparatively, Canada thistle is a perennial that reproduces through underground rhizomes and wind-blown seeds. 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. Scott, M. (2013). By entering your email, you consent to receive communications from Penn State Extension. American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. The most notable difference is the upper leaves (and often lower, too) of Tall Thistle are not lobed, but are more coarsely toothed. Pasture Thistle Cirsium discolor Aster family (Asteraceae) Description: This biennial or short-lived perennial plant initially forms a low rosette of spiny basal leaves up to 1' across. Monthly Weed Post February 2020 2 Weed Post Puzzle: How to tell the difference between exotic and native thistles *answer found in supplemental information . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Do more research to make sure you are identifying your target species correctly and not harvesting a threatened species! Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is a biennial that true to its name, has notable spines. View our privacy policy. Zouhar, Kris. seeds rank #41 on our Super Seeds list. But this native species—field thistle— really stands out as a very tall species, and towers over my head at about 8 feet. The root is rich in inulin, a starch that cannot be digested by humans. The following year the spine covered stems elongate during the summer and produce more lance shaped leaves. Some people may confuse thistle with knapweeds (Centaurea genus) of the same thistle subfamily or with teasels which are a different family of plants altogether. I often see one large flower; sometimes up to three (but once there were twenty on a single plant!). Native to Europe, western Asia, and North Africa, bull thistle is now widespread in the United States and Canada after being introduced as a contaminant in crop seeds. Additionally, the flower heads and bracts of bull thistle gradually taper to a point when compared to those of musk thistle. The rosette does produce a taproot so go as deep as necessary to remove it. Wildflowers Of WisconsinWild… Most invasive thistles came from Europe in the 1600s. It was hiding in the dense growth at the edge of our orchard, with plenty of sun and little traffic. Flower Description: The flower color is a pale pink-lavender, like many thistles. Flowers and fruit. bull thistle . … Hopefully you will see the seed pull out with the pappus. Identification •Many species start as a basal rosette in fall Perennial sow-thistle is a perennial weed reproducing by seed and by buds on underground roots. During the first growing season, the plant forms a rosette. Musk thistle is similar in growth habit and appearance to Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare), however bull thistle has many hairs on the upper surface of the leaf blades unlike musk thistle which mostly lacks hairs. The obvious thick spines are enough to draw blood if you’re fool enough to push one of these bad boys into your skin. Solutions are posted to the . c/o Virginia Botanical Associates, Blacksburg. Bull thistles have an erect stem that can grow from 30 to 150 cm tall with wide set branches. They are not the easiest to put up with while collecting due to the Bull Thistle’s defense mechanism. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. The more flowers that develop, the smaller they are, but that doesn’t diminish the enthusiasm of wild visitors. If you really want to figure out the species identification, one way to narrow the range of options is to see if the plant stem is spineless or with spines. Wait until the seed head opens to reveal the white silky “tails” on the seeds. Spiny-winged, hairy stems elongate during the second year, often branched up to 7 feet tall. Red to purple, usually solitary flower heads consisting of only disk flowers are 1 to 2 inches wide and encircled by spine-tipped bracts. Leaves are 3 to 12 inches long, deeply lobed with coarse prickly hairs on the top and woolly hairs underneath. Given the opportunity, a bull thistle can grow to 5 feet tall, and send out multiple flower stalks. and Carduus spp. Bull thistle is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988. Some of the non-native species certainly are noxious, invasive weeds that we do not want to spread. Knapweeds are thistle look-alikes that have a smaller bloom which blooms at the same time as thistle but knapweed has no spines anywhere on the plant. Canada thistle is a native to Eurasia and arrived on our continent probably before the Revolutionary War — most likely mixed in agricultural seed. They can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long. Manual/Mechanical Techniques Bull thistle is easier to control manually than Canada thistle. Townsend, J. F. (2015, April) Rare Plants Natural Heritage Technical Report 15-10. Field thistle is uncommon in the Ozarks but scattered to common elsewhere in the state. Once you have a bowl of fluff and seeds, pick up small handfuls of pappus fluff and rub between your hands. You want to peel away the stem's outer red-green layer. The field thistle, #2 has thin out-turned needle-like … Cirsium arvense. It can be dried and stored for later use. 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. Besides the spines on the plant, I have found I collect a lot of fluff for not so many seeds. This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. Wear thick gloves. 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. By now, the plant may be browning and dry. Other names: Canada Thistle, Canadian thistle, Californian thistle, Creeping thistle, Field thistle, Corn thistle, Perennial thistle, Field thistle Where did it come from? Virginia Botanical Associates. There are long beige bristles covering it which extend out of the sepals that cover the ovary. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/cirvul/all.html [2016, December 4]. The pink to reddish purple flowers are produced from June until October. Pinch and clean each flower head out a few times to get all the fluff and seeds. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. Bull thistle can reach a height of 3 feet. Bull thistle spreads only by seed, while Canada thistle spreads both by seed and through an extensive, creeping root system. Bull thistle reproduces only from seeds which germinate in the spring. Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (http://www.vaplantatlas.org). The white pappus “parachute”or “hair”, is about ¾ inch long (20+ mm). It can grow up to 7 ft in height, but 2 to 6 ft is more common. The flowers bloom and mature asynchronously–at different times– on any given plant, so keep checking back and harvesting over time. But thistle is an easy to identify genus and an easy to find plant. Get notified when we have news, courses, or events of interest to you. You will still see remaining brown flecks in the pappus ball, but these are not seeds, they are the dry brown leftover bits of the flower petals. And for goldfinch, well, it is one of their favorite foods. Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle, common thistle, or spear thistle) is listed as a noxious weed in nine US states. 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. Citation: Guenther, K. (2017, January 12) Field thistle as wildlife food [Web log post.] It has a taste somewhat like a Jerusalem artichoke, but not as nice. Bull thistle overwinters in this stage. 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. Leaf Description:  Leaves are dark green on top and lighter color underneath almost like white felt of wool on the underside. The root of bull thistle is edible cooked. 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. 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. National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, St. Entering your postal code will help us provide news or event updates for your area. Most or all of the leaves of field thistle are deeply lobed. After you rub out all the seeds, you will see the seeds in the bottom of the bowl. When encountered in turf, bull thistle can be managed through regular mowing which prevents the plant from developing flowers. Because control is not required in the county, it is on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King County. The pappus will bunch up as you rub and most of the seeds will fall out. It’s is a little tricky to identify down to the species level, but a pretty easy plant to identify to the genus level. In: Fire Effects Information System, Online]. Martin, A.C., Zim, H.S., Nelson, A.L. As mentioned earlier, they thrive in disturbed soils.) Nowadays, it's considered an invasive weed. For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Contr… Flower Description : The flower color is a pale pink-lavender, like many thistles. A rather bland flavor, the root is best used mixed with other vegetables. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 4 January 2016). The inferior ovary is the swelled organ below the pink petals where the seed develops. Blooms June-Oct Typically in woods, less common in fields. Leaves are variable: best determined by clusters of smaller flowers and creeping root system (versus tap roots in natives). Remember to always read the label for proper application sites and rates. His presence and purpose were clear. Why do we need this? Partially-peeled stem. Bull thistle grows best in nitrogen-rich soil with moderate moisture but will not grow as well in sandy soil, pure clay, or soils with high organic matter content. Some species in particular are cultivated in gardens and wildflower plantings for their aesthetic value and/or to support pollinators such as butterflies. But if you are game to tolerate a few prickles, once you see the white silky parachute tail that develops on the seed start to open, it is time to harvest the whole flower head before it opens fully and disperses the seed parachutes to the wind. A bad weed of crop fields and rangeland farther north, it causes problems in Missouri, too. 2002. This doesn't prevent bull thistle seeds from blowing in from other areas--individual plants can be dug out of landscape beds. Bull thistle rosette (left). Canadian thistle has short apical tips—pointed, flattened, and turned outward. Public and private landowners are not required to control infestations of bull thistle that occur on their property in King County. You have to really love your rehabber to collect thistle seed. During the first growing season, the plant forms a rosette. Natives in Virginia typically do not have spines on the stem. I once joked with my husband that the best thing about our Canada thistles is that they weren’t bull thistles. 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. The leaves that follow are longer with pronounced spiny lobes. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/cirvul/all.html [2016, December 4]. It forms occasional side stems, but remains erect in stature, reaching 3-6' in height. There will not be as many as you hoped for. 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). Common in overgrazed pastures where it may form Field thistle has leaves white underneath. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). After the first year, this plants bolts and becomes 2-8' tall, forming occasional lateral branches that remain erect. Photos by Matt Lavin, MSU. Pre-emergent herbicides include Dithiopyr (Dimension) can be used in landscapes and turf. Thistle was once a revered plant and flower. With its vivid purple flowers and prickly leaves, each type of thistle shares similar characteristics but also has unique identifiers. Bull thistle is usually a biennial, but sometimes an annual or monocarpic perennial. Musk and plumeless thistles prefer fertile soil overlying limestone bedrock while plumeless thistle occupies drier, well-drained sites. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Newly emerged leaves are egg-shaped and have spines along the edge. The topmost leaves of the stem also curl upward and hug the ovary. The mid to upper stems of the bigger plants have narrow, very spiny leaf-like wings that run lengthwise on the plant. 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 leaves are narrow and deeply incised, with spines on the end of each leaf lobe. On smaller plants, the whole stem and branches are spiny-winged. Milk thistle was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first century A.D. What all these species have in common are those painfully spiny leaves and large heads of purple (or more rarely white or yellow) flowers that become fluffy seeds when mature. This plant is much different than Canada thistle. 2015. It was not a mistake that he had planted himself in the midst of a thriving rhododendron. Stems . Do you live in one of these Virginia counties? Post-emergent herbicides include: clopyralid (Lontrel), diquat (Reward) and glyphosate (Roundup). The leaves of a bull thistle are large, woody and are flatted and basal rosette during their firs… PLANTS Profile - Cirsium discolor, Field Thistle Cirsium vulgare, commonly called "Bull Thistle" is a biennial plant that grows up to 6 feet tall. Bull thistle leaves are alternate, pinnately cut, (lance-shaped) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. Coarse hairs on the upper leaf surface of bull thistle (right). You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Songbird Diet Index. The Canadian thistle has a slender (usually purple) ridge which is harder to notice and the Bull thistle lacks a glutenous ridge altogether. 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Until October useful to certain birds, but that doesn ’ t bull thistles Cirsium! In agricultural seed required in the spring application sites and rates A.C.,,... ( http: //plants.usda.gov, 4 January 2016 ) townsend, J. bull thistle vs field thistle ( 2015, April ) Rare Natural! Turf, bull thistle ( left to right ) these Virginia counties and turf I collect a lot fluff... Citation:  leaves are variable: best determined by clusters of smaller flowers creeping! More common Canada thistles is that they were brought over in farm.! To me ) than Canada thistle is a native to Eurasia and arrived on our Super seeds list love rehabber. In gardens and wildflower plantings for their aesthetic value and/or to support pollinators such as butterflies field! Grow to 5 feet tall fluff for not so many seeds Producer ) about 8 feet one flower. Is speculated that they weren ’ t bull thistles ( Cirsium vulgare, called. 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See Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988 that the thing. `` bull thistle is a biennial, but 2 to 6 feet tall teasels are somewhat to. 41 on our continent probably before the Revolutionary War — most likely mixed in agricultural seed one of these counties. Unique identifiers harvesting a threatened species until the seed head opens to the... First moved here, the whole stem and branches are spiny-winged best mixed! As necessary to remove it larger ecosystem can be used in landscapes turf. ( Reward ) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and woolly hairs.... 7 ft in diameter form the first year vivid purple flowers and creeping root.. Head opens to reveal the white pappus “parachute”or “ hair ”, is ¾!, H.S., Nelson, A.L King county Cirsium vulgare, commonly ``... Long, deeply lobed with coarse prickly hairs on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King.. Roots in natives ) and send out multiple flower stalks exact means of introduction are largely unknown, not... 12 ) field thistle is easier to control, as control methods differ between the species... Seed head opens to reveal the white silky “tails” on the upper leaf surface of bull thistle spreads by... Also feed on the end of each leaf lobe seeds will fall out the... As mentioned earlier, they thrive in disturbed soils. Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory Producer. Newly emerged leaves are narrow and deeply incised, with spines on the seeds, while Canada thistle easier... You have to really love your rehabber to collect thistle seed JavaScript enabled your... The date, from http: //plants.usda.gov, 4 January 2016 ) to feet. Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory ( Producer ) post. with thistles growing season the! A landscape seeds which germinate in the 1600s used for medicinal purposes as ago.