Plants of the Castlemaine district

Spear Thistle - introduced (*Cirsium vulgare)

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Other Names: Black Thistle.

Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family).

Native of Europe.

Occurrence: A widespread and abundant thistle. It grows in a wide variety of habitats.


Spear Thistle is a proclaimed noxious weed and listed as Restricted in central Victoria. It can invade bushland. It is probably the most abundant thistle in the central goldfields. It is sometimes called Scotch Thistle, a name usually used for another thistle.

It is not eaten by stock, and may be the only visible vegetation in heavily grazed paddocks. It is spread by wind, by stock, in contaminated hay and by vehicle movement. The seeds may lie dormant for many years.

Photos 1 and 2: Spear Thistle. It is densely spiny, and the ball-shaped flowers are surrounded by sharp spines. The flowers are coloured purple.
3: Leaf rosettes of Spear Thistle. Barkers Creek.
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