Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.

Family: Asteraceae, Tribe: Cynareae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)

Carduus lanceolatus L., Cnicus lanceolatus (L.) Willd.

Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)

bull thistle

Primary Disseminule Type


Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Fruit a cypsela, oblong to obovate or oblanceolate, often slightly curved dorsally, laterally compressed, cross-section ± elliptic, 3–5 mm long x 1–1.8 mm wide x 0.8–1 mm thick. Surface glabrous, smooth, shiny, gray or straw-colored to light brown, often with darker streaks. Pappus easily deciduous as a unit (bristles fused at the base into a ring), bristles nearly equal (15–30 mm long), plumose (cilia 5–6 mm long), tan to whitish.

Style base cylindrical to conical, prominent (up to 0.5 mm long), surrounded by a lighter-colored, raised collar.

Fruit attachment scar basal, truncate, ± flush, narrowly diamond-shaped, white.

Similar Species

Cirsium arvense

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)