Centaurea calcitrapa L.

Star Thistle

Sp. Pl. 917 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Divaricately branched erect annual or biennial, to 1 m high. Basal leaves short-lived, petiolate, oblanceolate, to 20 cm long and 5 cm wide, deeply pinnatisect with toothed lobes, pubescent or woolly when young, glandular; cauline leaves sessile, scabrous, the lower ones lanceolate, 2–8 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, pinnatifid to lyrate, the upper ones linear to narrow-lanceolate, 2–4 mm wide, entire. Capitula solitary, ovoid-cylindric, 6–10 mm diam.; sterile capitulum produced at centre of basal leaves before flowering-stem develops; involucre 10–15 mm long; intermediate bracts ovate, glabrous, terminal appendage with a straight spine 10–30 mm long and 1–3 pairs of smaller spines; inner bracts shorter, terminal appendage broad, scarious. Corolla 15–20 mm long, pale purple, rarely pink or white. Cypselas 2–4 mm long, whitish, streaked or blotched brown, glabrous; pappus absent. Flowers mainly Nov.–Apr.

*CVU, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *NIS, *Strz, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas.,. Native to Europe, northern Africa and Asia. A widespread and troublesome weed, particularly in 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.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-07-23
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Asterales
family Asteraceae
genus Centaurea
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Centaurea calcitrapa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Centaurea calcitrapa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present introduced
Goldfields present introduced
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present introduced
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present introduced
Highlands-Northern Fall present introduced
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

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