Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.

Spear Thistle

Fl. Napol. 5: 209 (1835-36) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annual or biennial, mostly 60–150 cm high; stems usually much-branched, with discontinuous spiny wings, cobwebbed. Leaves toothed to pinnatisect, margins spiny, upper surface dark green and covered with small prickles, lower surface white-tomentose or cobwebbed; basal leaves obovate to lanceolate, to 35 cm long and 10 cm wide, obscurely petiolate; cauline leaves similar but smaller, base decurrent. Capitula pedunculate, solitary or 2 or 3 together, campanulate, 2–5 cm diam.; involucre c. 25 mm long; intermediate bracts linear-lanceolate, erect to recurved, with a straight terminal spine 2–5 mm long; inner bracts longer and narrower, acute. Florets bisexual; corolla 25–35 mm long, purple. Cypselas 3–6 mm long, grey or light brown with darker streaks, smooth; pappus 2–2.5 cm long. Flowers mostly summer and autumn.

*Brid, *CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HFE, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MonT, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *SnM, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *WPro, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas., New Zealand. Native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Widespread and common across much of the State, usually along roadsides, in pasture and wasteland, mostly on heavier, more fertile soils. Declared a noxious weed in Victoria. .

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Asteraceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Asterales
family Asteraceae
genus Cirsium
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cirsium vulgare in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cirsium vulgare in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Bridgewater present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Wilsons Promontory present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Highlands-Far East present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised
Snowy Mountains present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory