Cynara cardunculus - L.
Artichoke Thistle
Other English Common Names: Cardoon, Wild Artichoke
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cynara cardunculus L. (TSN 37221)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.137910
Element Code: PDAST2U010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Cynara
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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: Cynara cardunculus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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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 CAexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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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
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This plant is a robust, aggressive thistle capable of forming dense, massive monospecific stands in disturbed habitats. While mostly known as a major agricultural pest, it can invade grasslands and riparian habitats, and has been observed colonizing riparian woodlands and natural openings in chaparral and coastal sage scrub. In the U.S., it is currently only established in California. It is invasive in Invasive in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties, the San Francisco Bay area, portions of the Central Valley, and elsewhere. It is reproductively aggressive, and is relatively hard to remove due to a deep tap root that resprouts when cut. However well-timed herbicides have proven effective in controlling this species.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium
I-Rank Review Date: 03May2004
Evaluator: Lu, S.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to the Mediterranean region (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: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Has been observed colonizing riparian woodlands and natural openings in chaparral and coastal sage scrub, growing under willow, mulefat, and sycamore (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance
Comments: This plant creates considerable shade. No alteration of soil chemistry or allelopathy. Does not alter fire cycyles. (Bossard et al. 2000)

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: Once established, this plant persists and dominates the vegetation, and can form dense populations with up to 22,000 plants per acre (Weber 2003).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High significance
Comments: Where invasive, this plant can grow in dense populations with up to 22,000 plants per acre, which displaces native vegetation, reduces species diversity, and makes an impassable barrier for wildlife. Once established, this plant shades out native species and competes for soil moisture and nutrients. (Weber 2003) Can create a monoculture that excludes shrubs, herbaceous plants, and even annual grasses. Reduces movement of wildlife through areas infested by this plant due to its stout, upright yet spreading nature, its formidable spines, and high densities of this plant. (Bossard et al. 2000)

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Threatens the endangered Acanthomintha ilicifolia, San Diego Thornmint, which grows in grasslands. Also reduces vigor in mature broom baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides) when in close proximity. (Bossard et al. 2000)

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Established only in California within the US (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High significance
Comments: Invasive in western US (Weber 2003). Declared a noxious weed in California (Kartesz 1999). Invasive in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties, the San Francisco Bay area, portions of the Central Valley, and elsewhere (Kelly and Pepper 1996).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: In approximately six TNC ecoregions (Inference using data from Kartesz 1999 and TNC Ecoregion 2001 map).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Invades grasslands, rangeland, riparian habitats, and disturbed sites (Weber 2003). Found in disturbed places to 1,650 feet throughout California, except deserts. Common in annual rangelands with coastal influence, but also is found inland in disturbed grasslands, or abandoned agricultural fields. Associated with overgrazing and was a very bad agricultural pest in the 1930s. Has been observed colonizing riparian woodlands and natural openings in chaparral and coastal sage scrub, growing under willow, mulefat, and sycamore. (Bossard et al. 2000)

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

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Escaped cultivation at least as early as 1897. Now in most western regions in California. (Bossard et al. 2000)

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Unknown
Comments: Hardy from zones 7a to 9b (Plants database 2004).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds are usually not dispersed over long distances and fall mainly within a few meters of the plants, although they may be dispersed by animals and water (Weber 2003). However, wind can significantly expand the patch size of a local infestation. Water and gravity can carry seeds short distances on slopes. Birds may also occasionally move seeds greater distances. Vehicle tires are transporting seeds along utility roads (Bossard et al. 2000)

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Unknown

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Establishment depends on disturbance (Weber 2003).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Also invasive in Australia and Chile and Argentina (Weber 2003).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: In the wild, this plant only spreads by seed. Has an aggressive root system. May resprout repeatedly when cut or herbicide is not applied in a timely fashion. Seedbank lasts approximately five years. Roots can reach eight feet deep. (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Scattered plants may be grubbed but much of the taproot must be removed to prevent regrowth. Herbicides also are used to control this plant. (Weber 2003) Cut stump method also works well (Kelly and Pepper 1996).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Moderate significance
Comments: Yearly monitoring and repeat eradication are necessary. Seedbank last approximately five years. (Bossard et al. 2000)

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Native species readily recolonize an area after this plant is dead (Bossard et al. 2000). Manual control methods create more disturbance and herbicides probably have some impact on native species. Cut stump method minimizes collateral damage (Kelly and Pepper 1996).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Insignificant
Comments: Riparian areas and grasslands are generally accessible areas.
Authors/Contributors
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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.

  • Dave's Garden. 2000-2004. The plants database. Available: http://plantsdatabase.com/. (Accessed 2004).

  • 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.

  • Kelly, M. and A. Pepper. 1996. Controlling Cynarus cardunculus (Wild artichoke, Cardoon, etc.). California Exotic Pest Plant Council 1996 Symposium Proceedings. Available: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/freeform/ceppc/documents/1996_Symposium_Proceedings1817.pdf. (Accessed 2004).

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

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

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