Purple thistle, yellow thistle
Synonyms: Carduus horridulus
Life Span: annual
Size: Height: 1-4 ft Width: 1-2 ft
Flower Color: white,pink,purple
Fruit Color: white
Phenology: winter dormant
Noted for: Showy flowers, thorns, interesting foliage
Recommended Uses: Natural landscapes including meadows and butterfly gardens.
Considerations: Purple thistle is a thorny plant - be very careful when handling.
Propagation: Readily self seeds. Following pollination the flower head can be bagged to collect the seed head which follows.
Salt Tolerance: Moderately salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand
Soil pH Range: 6.1 - 7.8
Larval host to little metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis) and painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies. It is also a nectar source for native and bubblebees. The seeds are rich in oil, an important food source for seed-eating birds. Also beetles eat the flowers.
Native Habitats: coastal plain, edges of salt marshes, pinewoods, prairies and disturbed areas.
Distribution and Planting Zones
Map is based on minimum winter temperatures
Suitable to grow in:
Ethnobotany: Members of the Seminole tribe used parts of this plant to make blowgun darts.