canada thistle vs bull thistle

Filed Under: Herbalism, Wildcrafting Tagged With: bull thistle, Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense, Cirsium vulgare, medicinal herbs, thistle, weeds, weekly weeder, Wildcrafting, Great article! Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is also known as common thistle or spear thistle. Uses and Values: Canada thistle seeds are eaten by songbirds. Use of preemergence herbicides in combination with good sanitation will prevent seed germination. Anything that will improve soil structure and nutrient availability will improve the odds of other plants versus the thistles, so cover crops like buckwheat would definitely fall into that category. Simply grab at the very base of the plant, where it is less spiny, or even just below the soil line. The plants you are most likely to confuse Canada thistle with are other thistles. Plants should be dug, taking care to remove as much of the root system as possible. Physical Description. Lobes on leaves are tipped with stout spines. The leaves made into a decoction and used somewhat freely, are said to increase the flow of milk, and gently to overcome hepatic obstructions; and the juice makes a rather soothing wash (or ointment) for irritable sores, tender eyes, and piles. Flower heads in clusters on short stalks, bracts collectively <0.8 inches high • Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium). This publication is designed to determine whether an unknown thistle is exotic or native; if exotic, the publication will help you determine it to species. Leaves are smooth on the surface and deeply lobed with spines on the margins. While Canada thistle (not surprisingly) grows throughout much of Canada, this weed also thrives in most of the U.S., as well as Europe and Asia. There are many thistle species throughout North America (and the rest of the world), but the two common in my yard are Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare). Stems may branch near the top. Canada thistle is also prolific in seed production at 700 seeds per stem. In the interest of science, I found a bull thistle leaf, peeled it and ate it on the spot. Love your blog. Canada thistle blossoms are a light pink-purple, with many blossoms per plant. He describes them and being tender, juicy and delicious. Plants may have one or more flowers per stem. Canada Thistle Bull Thistle. Bull thistle can reach a height of 3 feet. They are in rosette stage in the first year and flower and set seeds in the second year. (I tried this – very strange, mildly sweet, not at all like gum.). Leaves are … Red Root Mountain School of Botanical Medicine, Recommended Wildcrafting Reference Books – Weekly Weeder #1, Edible Flowers List with Flower Names and Pictures, We can eat that? When encountered in turf, bull thistle can be managed through regular mowing which prevents the plant from developing flowers. Still, if I'm in a pinch, at least I know they are safe to eat. In Weeds, Control Without Poisons, Charles Walters notes that thistles thrive in soils where manganese is low. Very competitive with field crops and forages. Thistles prefer dry ground and disturbed soils with plenty of sun. It is also commonly known as Canada thistle and field thistle.. As mentioned earlier, they thrive in disturbed soils.) Though I don’t think I’ll be eating my thistles. Even then, their tap roots hold quite tightly. Both have large flower heads and can reach over six feet in height. When the soil is loose, such as after a rain, it's fairly easy to pull them and get a long section of root, even barehanded. (Its spines are quite wicked. The plants are 1-3′ tall, and leaves attach in an alternating pattern up the stem. ?܊EwP6 (When we first moved here, the place was overrun with thistles. Bull thistle, a biennial, is often confused with Canada thistle but can be distinguished by the profuse hairs present on the upper leaf surface. Bull thistle is identified by its more robust form and the non-rhizomatous root system. I will do a soil test and see where we can make some changes there. Bull thistle is a biennial that forms a rosette the first year. How is it spreading and where? Landowners and homeowners realize this plant was a serious problem and needed to be controlled. Flower heads in clusters on short stalks, bracts collectively <0.8 inches high • Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium). • Plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides). Like most of my other weeds, I've largely made peace with my thistles, too. The roots, too, are edible, and Thayer says “better than burdock“. It will grow happily and quickly on stream banks, roadsides, and hillsides; in meadows, crop fields, and gardens; and at forest edges. Red Root Mountain School of Botanical Medicine gives some examples: This is taken from The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869 Medical Herbalism…. Canada thistle is diecious, which means male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Status Milk thistle has become particularly problematic in California where it has been listed as an invasive species of weed. The nectar and pollen of native thistles are incredibly valuable food sources to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Plants should be dug, taking care to remove as much of the root system as possible. Milk thistle was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as the first century A.D. Through the app or online. In The Forager's Harvest, Samuel Thayer goes into some detail about how thistles were one of the first wild foods he foraged, and how he harvests the center spine of the leaves by peeling off the surrounding spiny leaf material, leaving a stalk like a celery stick. I was underwhelmed. It can invade sedge meadows and wet prairies from nearby disturbed sites. The bull thistle generally grows in pastures, gardens, along trails and roadsides, and in waste areas. Similar plants: Stems of Canada thistle are not spiny in contrast to bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) and nodding thistle (Carduus nutans). Grows 2 - 5 feet tall. Required fields are marked *. It some mes furnishes nes ng cover for rails and shorebirds. Using sound judgment to be more self-reliant. Bull thistle seedling. Canada thistle is a perennial that spreads by seed and an underground system of vertical and horizontal roots. The summer and fall bloom time of thistles means that goldfinches raise their young later than most birds. Canada thistle is native to Europe. Originally posted in 2011, updated in 2017. To get rid of Canada thistles, it's best to catch them when they are young and small. The flowering stalks also can be cleaned and eaten. Not common in MO. The seeds are eaten by the American Goldfinch and the Clay-colored Sparrow. Tea made from Canada thistle leaves has been used as a diuretic as well as for treatment of tuberculosis. It can reproduce from small stem fragments or seeds. Range and Identification of Canada Thistle and Bull Thistle, « 10 Home Remedies for Headaches – Headache Relief That Works, Natural Weed Control – Weed Killers and Non-Toxic Weed Control Options ». Canada Thistle vs. Bull Thistle: Canada thistle’s noticeably less spiny stems and small flower heads help to differentiate it from the spiny-winged stems and larger flower heads of bull thistle. It can occur in wet areas where water levels fluctuate (along stream banks and ditches). Mammalian herbivores don't eat the Bull Thistle because it is heavily armed with spines. I didn’t notice it getting quite so large until I walked by in shorts… Thistle Root. ), Thistle grows just about everywhere, as you can see from the following USDA range maps for Canada thistle and bull thistle. Report it! As a relative of the artichoke, the flower buds are also edible. Their deep tap roots help break up compacted soils. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) has lobed leaves with sword-shaped sections, and scary spines at the tips. Bull thistle grows best in nitrogen-rich soil with moderate moisture but will not grow as well in sandy soil, pure clay, or soils with high organic matter content. Deionized sulfur helps to bring the iron/manganese ratio back into balance. bull thistle), or more broad and triangular (e.g. This thistle plant I’m testing is a bull thistle, and the spines are huge and rigid. The first year they start out as low basal rosettes close to the ground. The spines, while pokey, are not nearly as sharp as bull thistle spines. The dark green leaves are up to 12 in (31 cm) long, rough-textured, hairy, and bear long spines on their margins. Your email address will not be published. The flower nectar also attracts butterflies (especially swallowtails), skippers, and bee flies. Name: Bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore., Other Names: CIRVU, chardon vulgaire, Spear thistle, cirse vulgaire, pet-d'âne, piqueux Family: Composite or Aster Family (Compositae) General Description: Biennial, reproducing only by seed. (Barbara Pleasant recommends the same thing in The Gardener's Weed Book – other than the bare-handed pulling.).

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