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Last Updated: Spring 2011

Synonyms: NONE

Family: Asteraceae

Home Range/U.S. Introduction:
This species, a native of Europe, was cultivated in the United States and has escaped. In some areas, it is becoming naturalized.

U.S. Range Map:

Species Description:
Scotch thistle is a cottony pubescent biennial herb. The leaves are alternate, simple, and net-veined. The blades have pinnate major veins, and the margins are spiny tipped on lobes or teeth. The heads are in a flat-topped aggregation (corymb-like) and terminal. The flowers are disk only, purple, and perfect. The fruit is an achene with a pappus of bristles.

Habitat/Growth Characteristics:
Plants grow in cultivated fields, waste areas, and often in the edges of forests. It is a "sticky", drought-resistant plant that can reproduce by seeds.

The sticky and seed-producing habits allow scotch thistle to choke out cultivated crops in fields and native species in other areas. Its drought-resistant characteristic makes it difficult to eradicate.