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Basket Flower, American Star Thistle, American Knapweed, Thornless Thistle

Centaurea americana

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Centaurea (sen-TAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: americana (a-mer-ih-KAY-na) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Barbourville, Kentucky

Tully, New York

Pocola, Oklahoma

Sawyer, Oklahoma

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Merit, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Spring Branch, Texas

Hot Springs, Virginia

Natural Bridge, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 31, 2012, Limestonelin from SPRING BRANCH, TX wrote:

I started growing this plant from seed that I collected by the roadside. It has become an important addition to our butterfly garden. After it goes to seed, it is so easy to pull up. I just allow it to reseed itself. Requires no care. I love it!!


On Jun 7, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Basket Flower, American Star Thistle, American Knapweed, Thornless Thistle Centaurea americana is Native to Texas and other States.


On May 4, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Centaurea americana is also coomonly known as Powderpuff Thistle, Cardo del Valle, Shaving Brush. It may be found growing natively throughout most of North America.

I am always so happy to see the basket flower begin blooming. I think that the bloom buds are as beautiful as the fully opened blooms. The flower grows in sandy or clay-loam soils in edges of fields, prairies disturbed areas, over-grazed pastures, roadsides. It is most commonly found growing in prairies. In Texas, it is found in all regions, but especially in the Edwards Plateau and South Texas Plains. Basket flower is the most common wildflower in the state and is considered by many as being the showiest (besides the bluebonnet of course).

It may grow as tall as 5 or 6 feet with a 3 foot or m... read more