Cirsium vulgare - (Savi) Ten.
Bull Thistle
Other Common Names: bull thistle
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. (TSN 36428)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.157401
Element Code: PDAST2E350
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Cirsium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cirsium vulgare
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Sep2002
Global Status Last Changed: 08Sep2002
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (11Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Northwest Territories (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eurasian origin; in U.S. virtually throughout, but spotty in arid regions.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Innumerable occurrences.

Population Size Comments: Billions.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: A difficult-to-control exotic in the US.

Short-term Trend Comments: Stable.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Very vigorous.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eurasian origin; in U.S. virtually throughout, but spotty in arid regions.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GAexotic, HIexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MAexotic, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, NTexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Habitat Comments: Meadows, disturbed areas, roadsides, drainage ditches (but not in water), open forests.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Widespread species that appears to occur in common habitats and thus have minimal impact in natural areas. May most significantly alter the available forage for obligate grazers such as elk. Agents introduced for biological control of various non-native Cirsium species have spread and caused impact on rare, native Cirsiums.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 10Sep2004
Evaluator: Fellows, M.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Central, Southern and Eastern Europe (Weber 2003), western Asia and northern Africa (Bossard et al. 2000).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Grows on many MA's (Randall 2002, pers. comm.) A problem in frequently disturbed areas and Yosemite National Park (Zouhar 2002).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: A nuisance exotic weed in the US and much of the rest of the world. Not that aggressive or bothersome, however. It tends to become a constituent of natural meadows but does not take over (Randal 2002, pers. comm.).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Large rosettes (up to 1m in diameter (Bossard et al. 2000) prevent establishment of native species (Weber 2003).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Displaces native forage species (Bossard et al. 2000). The mechanism is likely the immobilization of nutrients during the decay of litter (Zouhar 2002).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:High significance
Comments: Closely related to several native US species (Bossard et al. 2000). May have negative consequences for animal species dependent on high quality forage (Bossard et al. 2000).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: Grasssland, rangeland and disturbed places (Weber 2003). In California it is most common in coastal grasslands, edges of marshes, meadows, and forest openings in the mountains below 7000 ft (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: In U.S. virtually throughout, but spotty in arid regions (Randall 2002, pers. comm.). Occurs in every state (Kartesz 1999, NRCS 2004).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Listed as noxious in at a little less than 1/3 of the states (Kartesz 1999).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: Inferred to occur in most ecoregions given wide distribution and habitat preferences (Kartesz 1999; TNC 2001; Weber 2003; NRCS 2004).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Grasssland, rangeland and disturbed places (Weber 2003). In California it is most common in coastal grasslands, edges of marshes, meadows, and forest openings in the mountains below 7000 ft (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Inferred from current range (Kartesz 1999; NRCS 2004) and disturbance dependence (Bossard et al. 2000; Weber 2003).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Inferred from current range (Kartesz 1999; NRCS 2004).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Wind, water and soil movement will disperse seeds (Weber 2003), but wind may only move the seeds 90 feet (Bossard et al. 2000). Dispersal beyond local areas is probably the result of inadvertant transfer as a result of human activities (Zouhar 2002).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Unknown
Comments: There is some debate over the efficacy of self-pollination; if seeds result from self-pollination (as may be the case with an isolated individual) those seeds will likely drop nearby, allowing for local expansion (Zouhar 2002). However, viable seeds may not result from self-pollination, limiting the rate of local expansion (Zouhar 2002).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Establishment depends on disturbance (Weber 2003), even a small scale disturbance such as a gopher mound (Bossard et al. 2000; Zouhar 2002).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Present in habitats similar to the US in Africa, temperate Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand (Weber 2003).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Large individuals may produce tens of thousands of seeds (Bossard et al. 2000). There is little evidence of a persistent seed bank (NPWRC 1997; PIER 2004). However, some studies have found seeds in the litter of closed canopy forests, suggesting that seeds may become dormant for long periods of time (Zouhar 2002).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Mowing before seed dispersal and/or treating with herbicides may help control Cirsium vulgare (Weber 2003). Because different plants may flower at different times, and if you cut the plant too early it may produce another flowering stem, multiple treatments will be necessary (Bossard et al. 2000). Biocontrol has not yet been successful (Bossard et al. 2000).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: There is little evidence of a persistent seed bank (NPWRC 1997; PIER 2004).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Biocontrol agents of Cirsium spp. are linked to damage in rare, native Cirsium spp. (Bossard et al. 2000).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Not reported from difficult to access habitats, nor is it an ornamental or crop species.
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: John Randall

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M. Hoshovsky. (eds.) 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) and United States Geological Survey (USGS). 1997. An assessment of exotic plant species of Rocky Mountain National Park. Available Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/othrdata/explant/. Accessed March 2004.

  • Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project (PIER). 2004. Last updated January 4, 2004. Prospective invasive species for Pacific islands. Available: http://hear.org/pier/prospective.htm. (Accessed 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov) . National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

  • Zouhar, K. 2002. Cirsium vulgare. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available ONLINE: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/carnut/all.html. Accessed 2004.

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