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.
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.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|CWH(3), ESSF(1), IDF(2), PP(2)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
TAXONOMIC KEY TO CIRSIUM
1. Heads small; involucres 1-2 (rarely 2.5) cm tall; plants introduced.
2. Stems distinctly spiny-winged; plants with perfect flowers C. palustre
1. Heads large; involucres more than 2 cm tall; plants native (except C. vulgare).
3. Leaves bristly-spiny above, stems distinctly spiny-winged............ C. vulgare
4. Pappus of mature seeds exceeding the corollas by 1-10 mm.............. C. foliosum
5. Heads large; involucres 3-5 cm tall........... C. drummondii
6. Outer involucral bracts more than 2 mm wide at base, slightly if at all hairy and if so, then mainly marginal.
7. Outer involucral bracts strongly glandular; lowermost leaves deeply pinnately lobed more than 1/2 the width of the blade.............. C. undulatum
6. Outer involucral bracts less than 2 mm wide at base, densely cobwebby.
8. Corollas white or creamy-white, rarely pinkish; involucral bracts greenish............. C. hookerianum
9. Styles exceeding the corollas by at least 3 mm; achenes 5-6.5 mm long; leaves usually lobed more than 1/2 the width of the blade.............. C. edule
Source: Illustrated Flora of British Columbia