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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Hans Roemer     (Photo ID #26066)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Cirsium brevistylum
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
842 473 1639
Slope Gradient (%)
26 0 70

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

190 130 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia