E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Cirsium brevistylum Cronquist
short-styled thistle (clustered thistle)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Hans Roemer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26066)

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Distribution of Cirsium brevistylum
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Species Information

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Short-lived perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, crisp-cobwebby, unwinged, simple or sparsely branched above, 0.6-1.2 (3.0) m tall.
Basal and lower stem leaves oblanceolate, up to 30 cm long; middle and upper stem leaves elliptic to oblong, 10-15 cm long, usually lobed 1/3 or 1/2 the width of the blade, sometimes nearly entire, margins bearing slender yellow spines up to 4 mm long, crisp-cobwebby above, often thinly woolly below.
Heads discoid, 3-6, in a terminal cluster; involucres 2-4 cm tall; involucral bracts densely cobwebby, linear-lanceolate, not much graduated, outer ones tapering to a slender, 2-3 mm spine, inner ones unarmed, sometimes irregularly-margined and twisted; disk flowers purplish-red, rarely white, 20-25 mm long, the tubes 12-18 mm long, the lobes 2-4 mm long; styles exserted out of the tubes about 1.5 mm or included.
Achenes 4-4.5 mm long; pappus 18-22 mm long, buff or light brown, subequal to the corolla.
A natural hybrid between Cirsium brevistylum and C. edule collected at several sites on S Vancouver Island has been named C. x vancouverense Moore & Frankton. These plants, although most similar to C. brevistylum, have the longer (4 mm) exserted styles and leaf lobes of C. edule.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in coastal and extreme S BC; S to ID, MT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Cirsium brevistylum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 473 842 1639
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
130 190 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(3), ESSF(1), IDF(2), PP(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References