Canada Thistle

Cirsium arvense

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State Noxious Weed. Height to 4 ft. Foliage irregularly and sharply lobed; margins with short spines. Compound pink to purple flowers in clusters; smaller than other thistles; flowers June to August.


Found in a wide variety of habitats; rangeland, cropland, roadsides, and edges of waterways.

Location in Nebraska

Widely dispersed across Nebraska.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Originally from Eurasia and North Africa. Spreads up to a half a mile by wind, water, and wildlife; introduction and spread as a seed contaminant.


Multi-million dollar losses in crop production due to competition. Releases toxic substances into the soil which inhibits growth of some plants. Competes with native vegetation.