… Answer: Both thistles and nettles have been called the devil’s plant or devil’s vegetable because of their thorns, and both are considered prickly weeds, although they’re often used medicinally. 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. Erin grew up in southeastern Nebraska roaming around the farm land of her parents’ home and the adjacent state Wildlife Management Area and State Recreation Area. Legend has it that at some point during a 13. This food source is increasingly important as many of our pollinating insect populations are in decline. We have 10 species of thistle in Nebraska, 5 native (tall, Platte, Flodman's, yellowspine, and wavyleaf) and 5 non-native (plumeless, musk, Canada, bull, and Scotch). The spread of non-native thistles presents environmental and agricultural problems that people expend great effort to address. The next time you jump on your ATV to address noxious and invasive vegetation on your property please give some thought to which thistle you target and which ones you leave. It has spiny-winged stems, and its flowers are classic onion-shaped thistle flowers. thistles also feed on bull thistle. Acta Oecologica 24(2):77-86. The Bull thistle also provides seeds to granivores (consumers of grains and seeds) such as goldfinches. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! Working in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Scotch thistle has been found growing in a number of western Washington counties but the sites are generally small and isolated. Thistles are of the family Asteraceae. In reality, native thistles are a group of wildflowers that are just as much a part of prairie ecosystems as more well-loved groups of wildflowers like coneflowers, penstemons, or prairie clovers. Scotch thistle is … A) Bracts small and leaf-like, purple tipped, and collectively less than 0.8 inches high, unlike all other thistles except spiny plumeless (exotic, p. 8) and Wyoming thistle (native, p. 15); heads are 0.3-0.5 inches For example, non-native bull thistle and native tall thistle share over 80% of their herbivore community. In the case of invasive non-native invasive thistles, the dislike makes sense. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a GIS graduate certificate. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Scotch Thistle … The Bull thistle was used by early humans as a warm medicinal tea. Scotch thistle is more densely covered with white hairs, tends to be taller, and the stems have "wings" along the entire length, unlike bull thistle. Scotch thistle (Ono-pordum acanthium), See 4E and 5E on pages 4 and 5. In contrast, many pasture weeds are perennials which, once they have germinated, then remain alive for many years afterwards due to vegetative reproduction. In comparison, bull thistle has basal leaves and leaves that are smooth to sparsely woolly below; giving a green appearance. Prevalence and impact of the crown fly, Botanophila spinosa, on its host thistle, Onopordum acanthium, in southern France. However, Scotch thistle (and other biennials like it) does have some capacity to regrow if it is injured (like perennial weeds) by forming multi-rosettes from buds located at the base of e… Open Fields and Waters land west of Ainsworth, Brown County. Not only does the goldfinch pull the seeds out to eat; it also uses the thistle down (the pappus) to line its nest. Scotch thistle, Gary Stone photo. It rarely reaches infestation levels that justify treatment, probably because the insects that feed on native Circium spp. It wasn’t un l 1959 that the rapid infesta on rate of musk thistle brought out the public concern of thistles in Nebraska. Vigorous biennial or short-lived warm-season perennial forb with coarse, spiny leaves and conspicuous spiny-winged stems; 1-1/2 to 12 feet tall. Scotch thistle differs from bull thistle as it has larger yet fewer flowerheads, lacks basal leaves and has dense woolly hairs on its leaves; giving it a silvery appearance. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014]. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistle (left to right). Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Habitat. Custom programming and server maintenance by. FIGURE 4. 80% to 90% of seeds remain viable for five years and they are spread far and wide by water, wind, wildlife, and human activity. Exotic invasive Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Long silky hairs on Silver Plume Silver Plume blooms in September Virtually no hairs on Johnson grass SF 2016 (Cirsium discolor) Native Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum) Native Carolina Thistle (Cirsium carolinianum) Exotic invasive Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Perennial. Bull thistle is a biennial that forms a rosette the first year. Small mammals such as thirteen-lined ground squirrels, mice, rabbits, and moles also feed on thistles. Thistle Identification Telling thistle species apart can be difficult. Our native thistles tend to get a bad reputation right along with the non-natives even though native thistles do not typically exhibit the same invasive, weedy tendencies. Yellowspine . Scotch thistle is found in any type of habitat but normally establishes quickly in disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as cheatgrass. Legend has it that in the tenth century, the invading Danes gave themselves away by their screams when they tried to steal away barefoot through a dry moat full of thistles. Bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a variety of soil types and conditions. Yellow thistle (Cir-sium horridulum), See 3C and 6C on pages 3 and 6. Milk thistle was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first century A.D. One variety, the Scotch thistle, sports purple flowers and prickly leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland. Learn more at. Overview Information Scotch thistle is a plant. Occasionally, in disturbed sites, native thistles such as Flodman's thistle, can form localized stands, but are less likely to expand than non-native thistles. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistles are annual and biennial nonnative plants in the sunflower family that are considered invasive. Thistles are also an important resource for native herbivorous insects that feed on their leaves, stems, and flowers. Musk thistle (Carduus nutans), See 4D and 5D on pages 4 and 5. bull thistle J. DiTomaso, bugwood.org Scotch thistle J. Randall, bugwood.org. Onopordum acanthium. Bull thistle leaves are alternate, pinnately cut, (lance-shaped) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. Not common in MO. Plumeless and Scotch thistles are listed as noxious weeds in both Arizona and New Mexico. But that’s where the resemblance ends. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) has lobed leaves with sword-shaped sections, and scary spines at the tips. Prather. Bull thistle is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988. Coordinating Wildlife Biologist. Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum), See 3A and 6A on pages 3 and 6. ... Scotch thistle is a slow-growing biennial. Each plant produces 70 to 300 flowers and up to 40,000 seeds annually. Identify Scotch thistle by its rich purple blooms and the thick, spiky hairs on its leaves. This thistle doesn't have the milky striping, and its leaves are hairier than Italian or milk thistle. It can form huge monocultures and is very difficult to eradicate. Though bull thistle is difficult to contain, frequent mowing before it flowers can help keep it under control. 2003. Many native thistles also have thick, white hairs on the underside of leaves, giving the leaves a two-toned appearance; light on bottom, darker on top. Figure 2A. Most of the non-natives have hairless or sparsely haired leaves. Figure 2B. Description . Thistles. Many species of thistles have edible roots, inner stems, young leaves, young inner parts of flower buds and seeds. Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae.Prickles can also occur all over the plant – on the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. Weedy characteristics: Scotch thistle is highly competitive and aggressive, and forms dense colonies that can choke out native vegetation. It is used as medicine. Biennial thistles, such as musk (Carduus nutans L.), plumeless (Carduus acanthoides L.) and bull thistle [Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore], are not as difficult to control as the perennial thistle species, but spread rapidly and can become severe problems in some areas. The Scotch Thistle, or Cotton Thistle (Onopordon Acanthium) is one of the most beautiful of British plants, not uncommon in England, by roadsides and in waste places, particularly in chalky and sandy soils in the southern counties. The leaf margins of a flowering bull thistle plant (a) are tipped with spines, and the stems have spiny wings. Contrary to the name, Canada thistle did not come into the U.S. from our northern neighbor, but rather was introduced in the 17th century from the Mediterranean region and southeast Europe. Public and private landowners are not required to control infestations of bull thistle that occur on their property in King County. The Silybum marianum plant goes by many different names, including Scotch thistle, holy thistle, Mary thistle, variegated thistle, and milk thistle. We have 10 species of thistle in Nebraska, 5 native (tall, Platte, Flodman's, yellowspine, and wavyleaf) and 5 non-native (plumeless, musk, Canada, bull, and Scotch). Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. They can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long. The Value of Native Thistles This article focuses on why we should keep native thistles around and start thinking of them as "wildflowers" rather than "weeds". Legend has it that in the tenth century, the invading Danes gave themselves away by their screams when they tried to steal away barefoot through a dry moat full of thistles. The Value of Native Thistles Native thistles provide highly valuable food resources for a wide variety of insects, including: honey bees, bumble bees, long horned bees, leafcutter bees, sweat bees, syrphid flies, butterflies, hawk moths, soldier beetles, leaf beetles, scarab beetles, and parasitoid wasps. Biennial thistles spread only by seed (achenes) that are produced in great number by all the noxious species, ran… Canada thistle has been on the Noxious Weed List since 1873. Scotch thistle is a biennial weed, so it depends quite heavily on establishment from seed on a regular basis if it is to be found commonly in any particular situation. Nebraska Extension Acreage Team Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Lincoln, NE 68528, Phone: (402) 441-7180 Email: sbrowning2@unl.edu. Solutions are posted to the . Erin is stationed in Chadron, Nebraska. 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