Carduus acanthoides

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Carduus acanthoides
Carduus acanthoides 02 by-dpc.jpg
Carduus acanthoides flower head
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Carduus
Species: C. acanthoides
Binomial name
Carduus acanthoides

Carduus acanthoides, known as the spiny plumeless thistle, welted thistle, and plumeless thistle, is a biennial plant species of thistle in the Asteraceae—sunflower family. The plant is native to Europe and Asia.


The plant is native from France, Italy, and western Turkey; through Russia and Kazakhstan; to China.[1] In its native range the plant is found in open grasslands and disturbed areas, and in non-native ranges it is a weed of annual grasslands, roadsides, fields and pastures, and disturbed areas. The plant has distributed as an invasive species across North America.[2]


Carduus acanthoides in Germany.
Plant with seed heads.

Carduus acanthoides may exceed 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height and can form weedy monotypic stands. The stem and foliage are spiny and sometimes woolly. The plant starts from a flat basal rosette and then bolts an erect stem with occasional toothed, wrinkled, spiny leaves.[3]

At the top of each branch of the stem is an inflorescence of one to several flower heads, each rounded, covered in spiny phyllaries, and bearing many threadlike purple disc florets. The achenes are 2-3 mm long, with faint lengthwise stripes. Pappus bristles are 11-13 mm long.[citation needed]

Invasive species[edit]

Carduus acanthoides is well known in many other parts of the world, including parts of North and South America, New Zealand, and Australia, as a noxious weed. It is an invasive species in many regions of Canada and the United States, including California and West Virginia.[4] [5] The California Department of Food and Agriculture has an active program to control known populations.[6] Carduus acanthoides presents multiple factors[clarification needed] in growth and reproduction that negatively influence native species.[7] This invasive species has spread easily across different regions due to the fact that it spreads through its seeds, and each plant itself creates around 1,000 seeds alone.[8]


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