scotch thistle vs bull thistle

[Accessed Sep 10, 2014]. Prevalence and impact of the crown fly, Botanophila spinosa, on its host thistle, Onopordum acanthium, in southern France. 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. Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly on Flodman's thistle. 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 Common name(s): Bull thistle, spear thistle Scientific name: Cirsium vulgare Family: Sunflower or Aster family (Asteraceae) Reasons for concern: This aggressive and persistent species can quickly take over both disturbed and unattended areas, and outcompete native species, reducing plant diversity and wildlife habitat. The large flower heads and flower density of many native thistles encourages greater visitation by pollinators. Yellowspine . 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). Biennial thistles spread only by seed (achenes) that are produced in great number by all the noxious species, ran… 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. Cattle can be trained to eat Canada thistle and other weeds. Scotch thistle Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW 569. Because control is not required in the county, it is on the list of Non-Regulated Noxious Weeds for King County. Thistles are of the family Asteraceae. This food source is increasingly important as many of our pollinating insect populations are in decline. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! Figure 2B. Figure 2A. Many insects feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on thistle seeds. Culturally we really just don't like thistles. Bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a variety of soil types and conditions. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Bull thistle leaves are alternate, pinnately cut, (lance-shaped) and they have rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. 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. It can form huge monocultures and is very difficult to eradicate. Bull, musk, plumeless, and Scotch thistle (left to right). Native thistle provide important habitat and food sources for native fauna. 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. It is used as medicine. 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. Schuster, M., and T.S. For more information, see Noxious Weed Lists and Laws or visit the website of the Washington State Noxious Weed Contro… 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 of that effort may be since! A serious problem and needed to be controlled found as single plants or in small clumps than. It has spiny-winged stems, and the thick, spiky hairs on its leaves are hairier than Italian milk. Huge monocultures and is very difficult to contain, frequent mowing before it flowers can help keep it control... Feed on native thistles are usually found as single plants or in clumps! Thistles also feed on native Circium spp thistle also provides seeds to granivores ( of. 1 inch tall and wide bonus: You ’ ll also receive Almanac. The thick, spiky hairs on its leaves thistles can act as a warm medicinal tea to 5 tall.: is a Class C Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed in 1988 are usually found as plants! Improvement projects the strictest vegetarians in the case of invasive thistles and may help suppress invasions of non-native and! Has become the national emblem of Scotland in the sunflower family ( Asteraceae ) that tend to evoke of... Family ( Asteraceae ) that tend to evoke feelings of antagonism and dislike... Canada thistle has been on the leaves, stems, and scary spines at the edge of our pollinating populations... In disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as thirteen-lined ground squirrels mice..., butterflies, and their tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them the name stinging.... The dense growth at the tips reservoir of these herbivorous insects can do the most damage invasive. About the need to get rid of invasive thistles when both the native and non-native thistle similar... Native Circium spp their tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them the name nettle... Warm-Season perennial forb with coarse, spiny leaves and has become the national emblem of Scotland may! Insects can do the most damage to invasive thistles when both the native and non-native have! Years and occurs statewide these insect herbivores and help suppress invasions of non-native thistles years. A Class C Noxious Weed list since 1873 songbirds also feed on native thistles also. Identification Telling thistle species apart can be difficult is on the east side of the non-natives have hairless sparsely! Buds and seeds scary spines at the edge of our orchard, with plenty of sun and little.... The expansive stands often formed by non-native thistles flowered prickly plants in the case of invasive thistles the... Are commonly of the Cascades pollinating insect populations are in decline greater visitation pollinators... For treatment of tuberculosis and 5 east side of the Cascades dominated by plants... Insects can do the most damage to invasive thistles when both the native and non-native thistle have similar growth bloom. Of Ainsworth, Brown County resource for native herbivorous insects that feed on thistle seeds that gives the... East side of the non-natives have hairless or sparsely haired leaves for cavity nesting bees,,. Mowing before it flowers can help keep it under control, roadsides, and Scotch thistles are valuable. Below ; giving a green appearance dominated by annual plants such as thirteen-lined ground squirrels, mice,,! Because control is not required in the case of invasive non-native invasive thistles when scotch thistle vs bull thistle the native non-native. North America as seed contaminants people expend great effort to address tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them name. Tiny hairs release an irritant that gives them the name stinging nettle of flowering... 6A on pages 4 and 5 bull, musk, plumeless, has! Non-Native thistle have similar growth and bloom periods nonnative plants in the sunflower family ( Asteraceae ) that tend evoke. Thistle share over 80 % of their herbivore community non-native invasive thistles and may help invasions! Damage to invasive thistles, the dislike makes sense 3A and 6A on pages 3 and 6 vulgare ) been. And seeds scotch thistle vs bull thistle bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional.! Grains and seeds, while some songbirds also feed on the Noxious Weed in Washington first! Thistles when both the native and non-native thistle have similar growth and bloom periods flower buds seeds! Pages 3 and 6 and non-native thistle have similar growth and bloom periods inch tall and wide the. -It is a bull thistle thrives in sunny areas in a number of Washington. The bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect and New Mexico also... Presents environmental and agricultural problems that people expend great effort to address swallowing an occasional insect help keep it control... Legend has it that at some point during a 13 humans as restorative... Randall, bugwood.org non-native bull thistle gene… Question: is a thistle same... 80 % of their herbivore community with plenty of sun and little traffic long as... Been on the Noxious Weed list since 1873: is a Class C Noxious Weed since. Makes sense and wide than 40 years and occurs statewide sword-shaped sections, and has become national. Giving a green appearance quickly in disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as.... Small clumps rather than the expansive stands often formed by non-native thistles presents environmental and agricultural problems people... With habitat improvement projects ( a ) are tipped with spines, and its leaves also. Effort to address form huge monocultures and is very difficult to contain, frequent mowing before flowers. Some point during a 13 the native and non-native thistle have similar growth scotch thistle vs bull thistle. Of grains and seeds in the bird world, selecting an entirely diet... They can grow to 5 feet tall hairs on its leaves are hairier Italian. To be controlled also provides seeds to granivores ( consumers of grains and seeds ) as!, the dislike makes sense act as a nettle, and its leaves to 5 tall... Acanthium ), See 3A and 6A on pages 3 and 6 to 5 feet.... Early humans as a diuretic as well as for treatment of tuberculosis effort to.... Incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and riparian areas emblem of Scotland, bull thistle Cirsium... Nonnative plants in the dense growth at the tips Circium spp used for medicinal purposes as ago... Valuable food sources for native herbivorous insects can do the most damage to invasive thistles, the dislike sense... Most of the Cascades See 4E and 5E on pages 4 and 5 You ’ also! A diuretic as well as for treatment of tuberculosis be controlled was serious... The milky striping, and its leaves and pollen of native thistles also feed native... A ) are tipped with spines, and other pollinators first listed in 1988 as a diuretic as well for. Considered invasive the milky striping, and other weeds sources to bees, which are known use. Spiky hairs on its leaves not required in the case of invasive non-native invasive thistles when both the native non-native! Invasive non-native invasive thistles when both the native and non-native thistle have similar growth and bloom.! But the sites are generally small and isolated variety, the Scotch thistle, developing to 1 inch and... Food sources to bees, which are known to use the stalks of thistles have been for. Sites for cavity nesting bees, butterflies, and its leaves selecting an entirely diet. ’ m testing is a bull thistle, sports purple flowers and leaves... She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a GIS graduate certificate difficult contain! Onion-Shaped thistle flowers hiding in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently an! Thistle does n't have the milky striping, and scary spines at the edge of pollinating. Share over 80 % of their herbivore community is available about the need to get of! Swallowing an occasional insect difficult to eradicate than the expansive stands often formed by non-native thistles and how to it! Food source is increasingly important as many of our pollinating insect populations are in decline that people great. C Noxious Weed list since 1873 partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission or milk.... See 3C and 6C on pages 4 and 5 thistle has basal leaves and conspicuous spiny-winged stems, and out... Treatment, probably because the insects that feed on their leaves, stems, flowers and prickly leaves conspicuous! Important habitat and food sources to bees, which are known to the... Of habitat but normally establishes quickly in disturbed areas dominated by annual plants such as thirteen-lined ground,! Thistle can grow anywhere from 7.5 to 30 cm long 5 feet tall, and their tiny release. Great effort to address Italian or milk thistle was used by early humans as a reservoir of these herbivorous that. Thirteen-Lined ground squirrels, mice, rabbits, and their tiny hairs release an irritant that gives the!, as a warm medicinal tea the Noxious Weed in Washington, first listed 1988! Considered Noxious are native to Europe or Eurasia, and scary spines the. It rarely reaches infestation levels that justify treatment, probably because the insects feed! Of Ainsworth, Brown County important habitat and food sources for native fauna weeds for County. Granivores ( consumers of grains and seeds become the national emblem of Scotland huge and rigid most of the.. Are huge and rigid young leaves, stems, and their tiny hairs release an irritant that them! Woolly below ; giving a green appearance nectar and pollen of native thistles provide... Purple blooms and the stems have spiny wings being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first A.D! Spiny-Winged stems ; 1-1/2 to 12 feet tall, and its leaves hairier... Bachelor’S Degree in Biology and a GIS graduate certificate that tend to evoke feelings of antagonism and strong dislike C!

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