Cirsium horridulum

Photo by John Bradford. Photograph belongs to the photographer who allows use for FNPS purposes only. Please contact the photographer for all other uses.

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

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Purple Thistle, Yellow Thistle

Asteraceae (Compositae)

Plant Specifics

Size:1-4 ft tall by 1-2 ft wide
Life Span:Biennial
Flower Color:Regionally variable: white, pink, purple, yellow
Fruit Color:White
Phenology:Overwinters as a basal rosette. Blooms in spring.
Habitats:Coastal plain, edges of salt marshes, pinewoods, prairies and disturbed areas.


Recommended Uses:Natural landscapes including meadows and butterfly gardens.
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray Tolerance:Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.



The seeds are rich in oil, an important food source for seed-eating birds. 

  • Larval host to little metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis) and painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies.
  • Nectar source for native butterflies and bumblebees.  Bees documented in Florida include  Evylaeus pectoralis, Halictus ligatus, Lithurgzcs gibbosus, Megachile brevis pseudobrevis, and the non-native Apis mellifera (honeybee) (Deyrup et al. 2002).
  • Beetles eat the flowers. 
  • Provides nesting material for some native bees (based on information provided by the Xerces Society to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)