Cirsium nuttallii

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Cirsium nuttallii
Cirs nutt.jpg
Photo by Matthew Merritt, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae ⁄ Compositae
Genus: Cirsium
Species: C. nuttallii
Binomial name
Cirsium nuttallii
Ciri nutt dist.jpg
Natural range of Cirsium nuttallii from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Nuttall's thistle; coastal tall thistle

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Carduus nuttallii (A.P. de Candolle) Pollard

Varieties: none


A description of Cirsium nuttallii  is provided in The Flora of North America.

C. nuttallii is a biennial species that develops a deep taproot and basal rosette the first year, then shoots up a single, erect, glabrous stem.[1][2] It can be distinguished from other Cirsium by having branched and many-headed stems.[3]




In the Coastal Plain in Florida and Georgia, C. nuttallii can be found in loamy sand of pine savannas, Hymenachne depressions, and freshwater marsh banks. It will grow in sunny, open and disturbed habitats such as roadsides, railroad tracks, pastures, levees, highways, and upland fallow fields.[1][4] Soils include loamy sand and sandy loam.[4]


Cirsium nuttallii has been observed flowering April through July with peak inflorescence in June and with white to pink flowers.[1][5]

Seed bank and germination

It produces a large number of seeds and has been observed to self-sow freely.[1][6]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Cirsium nuttallii at Archbold Biological Station:[7]

Apidae: Apis mellifera, Bombus griseocollis

Halictidae: Halictus poeyi

Megachilidae: Lithurgus gibbosus

Use by animals

The seeds are eaten by birds, but avoids herbivory from deer.[8] It is the larval host to the little metalmark butterfly.[9]

Conservation and management

Global Conservation Status: G5.[10]

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 [Native Florida Wildflowers]Accessed:December 7, 2015
  2. [Encyclopedia of Life] Accessed: December 7, 2015
  3. Krings, Alexander, Randy Westbrooks, and Janine Lloyd. “CIRSIUM NUTTALLII (ASTERACEAE: CYNAREAE) NEW TO NORTH CAROLINA AND AN ILLUSTRATED KEY TO SOUTHEASTERN CONGENERS”. SIDA, Contributions to Botany 20.2 (2002): 845–848.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, James R. Birkhaulter, D. Burch, Emily Earp, R.K. Godfrey, R. Komarek, Marc Minno, Paul L. Redfearn Jr., Cecil R. Slaughter, L.B. Trott, D.B. Ward. States and Counties: Florida: Brevard, Escambia, Gadsden, Jefferson, Lee, Leon, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Taylor, Wakulla. Georgia: Grady. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 7 DEC 2016
  6. [Dave's Garden]Accessed: December 7, 2015
  7. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  8. [Naturescapes of Beaufort, SC]Accessed: December 7, 2015
  9. [What Florida Native Plant is Blooming Today]Accessed: December 7, 2015
  10. [NatureServe]Accessed: December 7, 2015