Plants of the Castlemaine District

Winged Thistle (*Carduus tenuiflorus) and
Slender Thistle (*Carduus pycnocephalus)

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Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family).

Natives of Europe.

Winged Thistle and Slender Thistle are widespread and common thistles, and may grow in farmland, forest and disturbed areas. They may grow in dense stands or as isolated plants. They do not thrive in dry conditions. Both are environmental weeds.


Photos: 1L: Slender Thistle, Elphinstone. 2R: Winged Thistle, Muckleford.

Both thistles are similar in appearance. Diffences between Slender Thistle and Winged Thistle include:

Winged ThistleSlender Thistle
Flower colourpink-purplepurple
Spiny bracts (surrounding the flowers)hairless on outer surfacefinely hairy on outer surface
Spiny wings on stemswings not continuous, spines to 5mm.wings continuous, spines to 10mm
Flowers2 or 3, terminal3-9, terminal or from leaf bases
Heightto 80 cmto 150cm

Both thistles are environmental weeds and Regionally Controlled in parts of Victoria. Small infestations can be removed by pulling. The fluffy seeds are carried by wind. The seeds may lie dormant for many years.

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3,4: Winged Thistle. Baynton and Muckleford.