Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bull Thistle, Yellow Thistle, Purple Thistle, Spiny Thistle
Cirsium horridulum

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cirsium (SIR-see-um) (Info)
Species: horridulum (hor-id-YOO-lum) (Info)

Synonym:Carduus spinosissimus
Synonym:Cirsium horridulum var. horridulum

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
This plant is resistant to deer

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; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Cirsium horridulum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Cirsium horridulum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Cirsium horridulum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #4 of Cirsium horridulum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #5 of Cirsium horridulum by Floridian

By tsiya
Thumbnail #6 of Cirsium horridulum by tsiya

By trois
Thumbnail #7 of Cirsium horridulum by trois

There are a total of 21 photos.
Click here to view them all!


2 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative themoonhowl On Mar 9, 2012, themoonhowl from Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant has grown well beyond the normal height/width...mine is 57 inches tall and has a span of just over 5 feet. Also, it is hardy to zone 3 and is on the noxious weed list for 46 states. It is very prolific and can produce thousands of seeds. It is a food source for a number of birds, bees and butterflies.

Neutral Crystalsaurus On Mar 3, 2011, Crystalsaurus from Spring, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This spiny thistle is has been growing in my backyard here in Spring, Texas. It grows rapidly, daily there is new growth to admire.

Positive cirsius On Nov 9, 2010, cirsius from Covington, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

From about late March the plant emerges with a broad crown of concentric prickly thorn tipped leaves. By May a thick stem 3/4" develops from one to two feet with a developing flower head. The entire plant cannot be handled without gloves; however, some locals in my area pick the stems and peal the outer portion, leaving a tender hollow mass which is boiled and served as a side vegetable. There is a window of about 2 - 3 weeks for this cultivation before the stem hardens. This plant is widely dispersed throughout the hay fields in my area and is regarded as a nuisance to the hay industry.

Positive SudieGoodman On Jul 2, 2004, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Purple Thistle grows as a perennial along roadsides and just about everywhere in early spring. I pot it up for bees, butterlies and/or birds to enjoy; it is a plant to be admired, also. I have acidic sandy loam soil with much rainfall.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Yellow thistle is on the endangered species list in CT and NH.

Neutral Floridian On Apr 13, 2002, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Thistle is a biennial with a tall branching stem, large variable colored flower heads and very spiny, clasping leaves. The flower heads are surrounded by erect, narrow, spiny bract-like leaves. The leaves are 6-10 inches long, lanceolate in outline, pinnately lobed, stalkless and clasping the stem, with spiny margins and tips. It grows to between 1 and 5 feet tall. This is a frequent native weed of pinelands, disturbed areas, is often found along the edges of salt marshes and is typical in overgrazed pastures.


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

Saint Augustine, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Covington, Louisiana
Norco, Louisiana
Austin, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas

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