Canada thistle

(Cirsium arvense)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Canada thistle


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Weed Status

SN – State noxious weed

PS – State prohibited weed seed



Native to western Asia and Europe. Introduced and naturalized in North America.


Common and widespread


Disturbed sites. Fields, pastures, roadsides, waste places.


June to October

Flower Color



12 to 48





Pests and Diseases

PST (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tagetis) is a bacterum that causes whitened plant growth (chlorosis) on only the upper portion of the plant, stunted growth, fewer shoots, and inhibition of flowering.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 24, 28.

This invasive plant is found in every county in Minnesota.





Asteraceae (aster)











Carduus arvensis

Cirsium arvense var. argenteum

Cirsium arvense var. horridum

Cirsium arvense var. integrifolium

Cirsium arvense var. mite

Cirsium arvense var. vestitum

Cirsium incanum

Cirsium setosum

Serratula arvensis


California thistle

Canada thistle

Canadian thistle

perennial thistle










Visitor Photos
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Alfredo Colon
  Canada thistle    
Bill Reynolds

My old field is about to burst out in thistle bloom. I know the Canadian Thistle is on the invasive list, but I let my bees work it then I start cutting the blooms from before they can go to seed.

  Canada thistle    Photos


  Canada thistle    


  Canada thistle    

Flower Heads

  Canada thistle   Canada thistle
  Canada thistle    


  Canada thistle    

Fruiting Heads

  Canada thistle   Canada thistle
  Canada thistle    



  Creeping Thistle
Wez Smith
  Creeping Thistle  

Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense).

  Cirsium arvense
Matt Lavin
  Cirsium arvense  

Introduced rhizomatous perennial often about 1 m tall, with relatively small flowering heads (involucre less than 2 cm high), leaves not densely woolly on either the upper or lower surface, moist disturbed sites from low elevation open areas to open montane understory.

  Canada Thistle
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Canada Thistle  

Cirsium arvense

  Cirsium arvense FIELD THISTLE
Frank Mayfield
  Cirsium arvense FIELD THISTLE  



Visitor Videos
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Other Videos
  Canada Thistle, identification of the Wisconsin Invasive Species Cirsium arvense

Uploaded on Jan 31, 2011

This is part of a series of videos providing key characteristics for the identification of invasive plants listed in Wisconsin's invasive species administrative rule NR 40. These videos are produced by Dr. Mark Renz of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information on invasive plants and invasive plant management in Wisconsin visit

  Weed of the Week #597-Canada Thistle (From Ag PhD #597 9/13/09)

Uploaded on Sep 21, 2009

Good things from Canada: Rush, Justin Morneau, Tuquks. Bad things from Canada: Anne Murrary, Canada Thistle. Just kidding about Canada Thistle. We'll show you how to kill this weed in this week's weed of the week.

  Canada Thistle - Phenology Note w John Latimer

Uploaded on Aug 11, 2009

KAXE Phenologist John Latimer talks about the Canada Thistle, one of two common types of tall thistle in Northern MN.

  The Invaders: Canada Thistle

Uploaded on Aug 13, 2009

Professional Horticulturist and Master Gardener Ellen Nibali identifies the Canada Thistle (cirsium arvense) and explains how to remove this invasive plant from your garden.

Click here to read our publication on invasive species for even more information:

This video is brought to you by the Home and Garden Information Center, part of University of Maryland Extension. Learn about our Grow It Eat It campaign, which provides resources and encourages people to start their own food gardens.

Check out our facebook page for more gardening advice:!/GIEIMaryland

Intro Credit: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers: (1956); Allied Artists. Music and shot of woman screaming used here in accordance with Fair Use.

Shot and Edited by: Alix Watson and Emily Heimsoth




Visitor Sightings
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Be sure to include a location.

Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

Canada thistle

Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington County

My old field is about to burst out in thistle bloom.  I know the Canadian Thistle is on the invasive list, but I let my bees work it then I start cutting the blooms from before they can go to seed.

Canada thistle


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