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Thistle – Wild Weeds

Wild Weeds – Weed of the Month

Thistle

Cirsium sp. & others

Thistle Rosette

Thistles are the bane of any pasture owners existence, but they also frequently occur on roadsides, ditchbanks, and forest hiking trails. Thistles are a bi-annual plant, meaning the first year of growth they simply grow as a rosette along the ground and during the second year they ‘bolt’ or send up a stalk with a flower & seed heads to reproduce. This growing pattern makes control difficult as often the rosettes go unnoticed until they are bolting, at which point the plant is harder to kill. Just one thistle plant can produce 4,000 seeds!

There are many species of thistles present in Florida. Check out this chart begin identifying which thistles you may be encountering:

Control Methods

Control will vary based on the location of the plant. For pastures, check out this document with specific herbicide recommendations. It is important to recognize that control will differ based on the growth stage of the plant (rosette, bolting, or flowering) and control increases in difficulty the more growth the plant is allowed.

You can learn more about thistle here >>

Wild Weeds is a monthly spotlight written by Alicia Halbritter, Baker County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent. Wild Weeds highlights plants you may find in Florida on the roadside, while hiking, in the forest, or possibly even in your yard. Searching for more information on a particular plant? Email Alicia at aliciah1221@ufl.edu for more information/questions.

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