Carthamus lanatus L.

Saffron Thistle

Sp. Pl. 830 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annual, to 1 m high; stems greyish, finely pubescent to cobwebbed. Basal leaves short-lived, oblanceolate, to 30 cm long and 6 cm wide, pinnatisect, lobes spine-tipped; cauline leaves sessile, amplexicaule, lanceolate, 3–6 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, pinnatisect with narrow spine-tipped lobes, bright glossy green above and below, glandular, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Capitula solitary, 10–20 mm diam.; outer bracts spreading to deflexed, rigid, often cobwebbed; inner bracts entire, erect, glandular, spine-tipped. Corolla 25–30 mm long, yellow to cream with darker veins. Cypselas 5–6 mm long, dark, often rugose towards apex; pappus of many linear, acute scales, the longest 7–10 mm. Flowers mainly spring and summer.

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HFE, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MonT, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *SnM, *Strz, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *Wim. Naturalized all States. Native to southern Europe and western Asia. A widespread weed of cultivation and wasteland, particularly of drier inland areas of Victoria, where declared noxious. .

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 Carthamus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Carthamus lanatus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carthamus lanatus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain 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 introduced
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
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present introduced
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Highlands-Far East present naturalised
Snowy Mountains present naturalised

State distribution

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