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Texas Thistle

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Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum)

Description: The Texas thistle grows 2-5 feet tall, without branches, or sparingly branched near the top. The numerous leaves are alternate, 4-9 inches long, smaller on the upper third of the stem. Leaves are green above and white below, with a woolly texture on the underside. The irregular lobes have spines at the tip but few elsewhere on the leaf. There is 1 flower head to a stem, with no ray flowers but numerous disk flowers, which are deep rose-lavenders. Bumblebees work the flowers when they mature.

Family: Asteraceae

Synonym(s): Carduus austrinus, Cirsium texanum var. stenolepis


Duration: Biennial

Habit: Herb

Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Color: Pink, Violet

Bloom Time: Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Water Use: Low

Light Requirements: Sun

Soil Moisture: Dry

Bloom Notes: Commonly recognized for its flower, the Texas thistle is a drought-tolerant species that blooms in early summer. The flower is a good nectar source for pollinators. Let the flowering progress to seed, providing food for birds. Bumblebees work the flowers when they mature. Larvae of painted-lady butterfly feed on foliage. Goldfinches eat seeds and use fluff (silky) of ripened seeds to line nests.
Goldfinches were reported using the pappus bristles of the flower to line their nests. Also used as a nectar source for butterflies.

ATTRIBUTION: All of the Texas Wildflower images in this post are copyrighted and are the exclusive property of Terry B. Kahler. Reproduction without explicit written consent is prohibited. Some of the information contained in this section was taken from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website and is being used under their terms of use. Redistribution from this site is prohibited. Additional information contained in this section was taken from the USDA website including the USDA code.

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