Tag Archives | Curely plumeless thistle

Welted thistle (Carduus crispus)


Common names:

Welted thistle, curly plumeless thistle

Scientific Name:

Carduus crispus


A large growing thistle Stems are openly branching, hairy with curled hairs to nearly smooth. Stems have spiny wings to 1.5 cm wide, and sport wing spines 3 mm long. The leaves have winged petioles at their base. Leaf blades are 10–20 cm long with spiny-toothed margins. Flower heads are borne singly or in groups of 2–5, 15–18 mm wide. Flower peduncles are spiny-winged to near apex or throughout, to 4 cm wide. Flower corollas can be either purple or white. Flower parts are both male and female.  Insect pollination is required. Reproduction is entirely by seed.  Carduus crispus closely resembles the more common C. acanthoides (plumeless thistle).

Life cycle:

Annual to biennual

Height of mature plants

1- 5 feet

Flower color:

Purple or pink to white

Bloom time:

Flowering occurs July through September.


Similar to other thistles.  Very closely resembles the more common plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides)


irrigation ditches, field margins, waste ground, pastures, and roadsides


Likely contaminant in grass and alfalfa hay, reducing its quality and marketability. Welted thistle seeds may also be a contaminant in alfalfa, grain, or grass seed. Infested grasslands and pastures may see a reduction in productivity when thistle densities reach high levels. This spiny thistle would act as a deterrent to most grazing.

Noxious Weed Listing:


Native to Europe and Asia.  The first record of welted thistle occurred in the Eastern U.S. in 1974. In 2016, a new western infestation was detected in Wallowa County, Oregon.

Present in Clackamas County:

Not known to occur


Oregon Noxious Weed Risk Assessment

Plants Database Profile: Carduus crispus

CABI Invasive Species Compendium Datasheet



The new thistle you don’t want on your property!

We have plenty of thistles growing in our area and landowners across the region are working hard to combat these prickly invaders.  While most of the thistles growing in our area are invasive, some of them are actually native.  Unfortunately, a recent discovery from eastern Oregon marks the addition of a new invasive thistle to […]

Continue Reading
WeedWise Program